London police have shut down a protest in Trafalgar Square against COVID-19 restrictions, clashing with demonstrators amid rising tensions over limits on everyday life as the government tries to stem a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
Demonstrators descended on London for the second straight weekend to air their disapproval of the coronavirus guidelines, with police warning they will break up the rally if protesters don’t follow social distancing rules.
Several thousand protesters assembled at Trafalgar Square on Saturday, with some eyewitnesses claiming that attendance was even higher than the turnout at a similar event held last weekend.
— Charlotte Gracias (@Charlotte3003G) September 26, 2020
Demonstrators held signs, waved British flags and cheered as speakers addressed the crowd. At one point the crowd could be heard chanting “freedom” as people whistled and clapped.
Trafalgar Square. Right now. Amazing pic.twitter.com/QwLMt583Fp
— Bazzaf (@Bazzaf3) September 26, 2020
— Damien Gayle (@damiengayle) September 26, 2020
Police and protesters were injured when officers moved in after three hours of speeches in front of thousands of people who packed the iconic square in London waving placards opposing mandatory vaccinations, face mask requirements and limits on civil liberties.
Police say they intervened because the demonstrators refused to comply with the very social-distancing rules they were there to protest. Officers removed sound equipment, bottles were thrown and police drew their batons in confrontations with protesters. Several people were seen being led away in handcuffs.
“Crowds in Trafalgar Square have not complied with the conditions of their risk assessment and are putting people in danger of transmitting the virus,” the Metropolitan police force says.
The demonstration was held as Parliament prepares to review COVID-19 legislation and the government imposes new restrictions to control the disease. Some lawmakers have criticized the government for implementing the rules without parliamentary approval.
Source: AP and RT