Thousands of people challenge COVID-19 sidewalks in London anti-lockdown rally


Protesters held signs reading: “When tyranny becomes law, resistance becomes a duty”


Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marched to Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for a so-called “We do not consent” rally to protest restrictions imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus, including the current “rule of six “which limits gatherings to a maximum of six people.

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement warning they would step up patrols in line with planned protests, while reminding the public that such gatherings could violate regulations designed to protect people from the virus.

It is illegal for people to gather in groups of more than six, unless they are exempt. Although protest is one of those exemptions, organizers must submit a risk assessment and comply with social distancing.

“Officers will, of course, continue to use the approach of involving, explaining and encouraging people to follow the regulations. However, if people do not comply and continue to put themselves at risk, officers will take action. coercive, ”said Commander Ade. Adelekan, who is leading Operation Met Police on Saturday.

“I know these regulations are very frustrating, but they were designed to protect everyone from what is a deadly virus. By blatantly gathering in large numbers and ignoring social distancing, you are putting your health and that of your loved ones on the line. in danger, ”he said.

Police said their officers would take coercive action if the crowds did not comply with the officers and risk each other and even the police.

“The Met will also not tolerate the level of violence and hostility that has recently been shown to police and other members of the public,” he said in a statement.

A number of highly trained law enforcement officers as well as mounted officers will be part of the highly visible police presence in central London, to respond ‘swiftly’ to coronavirus regulatory violations and scenes of violence, he noted.

Meanwhile, protesters could be seen holding signs reading: “When tyranny becomes law, resistance becomes a duty”, “Unmask the truth” and “No more lies, no more masks, no more lockdowns”, while that chants of “take off the mask” resounded loudly.

Last weekend, a similar protest against the lockdown turned violent, resulting in 32 arrests.

“Last weekend it was very disappointing that a small minority of protesters targeted officers with violence. About fifteen police officers were injured during this demonstration, with more than 32 arrests during the day. I will not tolerate a repeat of this behavior this weekend and officers will respond quickly to any scene of violence, ”added Commander Adekelan.

Saturday’s rally comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for tighter restrictions on the British capital, which is now on the government’s Covid-19 watchlist.

All of its boroughs are now part of 92 areas of concern around the UK, where the number of deaths from the deadly virus is rising to 42,000 as infection rates continue on an upward trajectory.

Large parts of Britain are already subject to strict localized lockdowns, with more than a quarter of the population facing restrictions as new rules take effect over the weekend.


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