Nine police officers have been injured – two of them requiring hospital treatment – and sixteen people have been arrested during “anti-lockdown” protests which were held in London today.
The demonstrations started in Trafalgar Square and then moved into Hyde Park.
Arrests were for a variety of offences including breaching Coronavirus regulations, assaulting a police officer, public order offences and violent disorder.
Commander Ade Adelekan, leading today’s police operation, said:
“As the crowds began to swell in Trafalgar Square, it became impossible for people to maintain social distancing and keep each other safe. Likewise, there appeared to be no efforts by organisers to engage with crowds and keep those assembling safe from transmitting the virus.
“This lack of action voided the risk assessment submitted by event organisers the night before. Therefore, today’s demonstration was no longer exempt from the Coronavirus regulations. In the interest of public safety, officers then worked quickly to disperse crowds. I am grateful to those members of the demonstration who listened to officers and went home.
“However, I am very frustrated to see that nine officers were injured during clashes with a small minority of protestors. This is especially saddening in light of the injuries sustained by officers last weekend. We will be supporting those officers who were injured, and I wish them a very speedy recovery.
“Our policing operation will continue into the evening and I would urge everyone to keep each other safe by not gathering in large numbers and maintaining social distancing.”
As the Met were keeping people updated about the situation via social media, one person inquired as to what the protests were about.
Another social media user responded by saying:
“A diverse selection of people inspired by conspiracy theories, circulated by movements such as QAnon.
“Many dont believe there is a pandemic, or choose to ignore because doing so means them being required to change their behaviour”.