More than 100 arrests as anti-lockdown and Million Mask protesters clash with cops hours into new coronavirus shutdown

2 weeks ago 2

MORE than 100 people have been arrested after anti-lockdown and Million Mask protesters clashed with police hours into England's new coronavirus shutdown.

Demonstrators gathered in central London and began marching up the Strand towards Trafalgar Square at around 6pm on Thursday.

More than 100 protesters were arrested at an anti-lockdown protest in London today

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More than 100 protesters were arrested at an anti-lockdown protest in London todayCredit: Rex Features

The marchers opposed further restrictions associated with the pandemic

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The marchers opposed further restrictions associated with the pandemicCredit: PA:Press Association

The Million Mask March is also held every year to coincide with Guy Fawkes Day

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The Million Mask March is also held every year to coincide with Guy Fawkes DayCredit: �2020 Martyn Wheatley / i-Images

A man waves a flag at the demonstration

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A man waves a flag at the demonstrationCredit: AP:Associated Press

Crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square

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Crowds gathered in Trafalgar SquareCredit: London News Pictures

Today marked the first day of a new nationwide lockdown in England set to remain in place for at least four weeks.

People across the country have been told not to leave their homes unless they have a specific reason or to socialise outside of their household or support bubble.

The Million Mask March, a civil liberties march associated with hacktivist group Anonymous, is also held every year to coincide with Guy Fawkes Day.

Protesters, very few of whom were wearing face coverings, chanted "freedom" and "no more lockdown" as they marched.

Trailed by a large number of officers from both the City of London and Metropolitan Police forces, they were repeatedly told to go home, with one officer shouting at a group: "You are breaking the law."

Shortly after 7pm, a smaller demonstration gathered near Primark on Oxford Street, where a number of protesters were grouped in by two lines of officers.

Those clustered in by police chanted "stand up" while officers encouraged protesters gathered nearby to go home.

"You need to leave, you are breaching coronavirus restrictions," one officer told them.

Conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn, 73, brother of ex Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was seen at the protest with a megaphone.

He marched with demonstrators despite receiving a fine of £10,000 for his part in a previous rally.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers had made at least 104 arrests, the majority of which were for breaches of the coronavirus regulations.

Riot cops with batons and helmets were filmed pulling people away from the scene and ordering journalists to leave.

One protestor was seen with blood streaming from his head after sustaining a head injury during clashes with police.

Police urged the crowds to disperse

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Police urged the crowds to disperseCredit: London News Pictures

A sign reads 'Mind your business and I'll mind mine'

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A sign reads 'Mind your business and I'll mind mine'Credit: Getty Images - Getty

Conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn, brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was seen at the march

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Conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn, brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was seen at the marchCredit: PA:Press Association

A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask is arrested

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A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask is arrestedCredit: PA:Press Association

The Met had said that protesters were ignoring directions from officers and warned that enforcement action would be taken against those who did not disperse.

"This gathering is unlawful and is putting others at risk," a tweet by the force said.

"We are directing those there to go home.

"Failure to do so will result in enforcement action."

It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel said she had equipped the police with the extra powers and funding they need to enforce lockdown rules, and that she expects forces to come down hard on people who flout them.

Among the new restrictions is a prohibition on protests involving more than two people.

A statement by Commander Jane Connors said: "Our main priority this evening has been to keep Londoners safe.

"We are eight months into this national pandemic and frankly there can be no excuse for people to dangerously breach regulations which are there to prevent further spread of Coronavirus.

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"Tonight, a crowd of people chose to ignore the new regulations, to behave irresponsibly and meet in a dangerous manner."

A number of police vans and officers were still in place on Oxford Street shortly before 8pm, while a number of protesters remained grouped in.

A woman is detained by officers

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A woman is detained by officersCredit: AP:Associated Press

At least 104 people were arrested in total

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At least 104 people were arrested in totalCredit: �2020 Martyn Wheatley / i-Images

A man is deatined by police

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A man is deatined by policeCredit: AP:Associated Press

A protester seen in a glow-in-the-dark mask

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A protester seen in a glow-in-the-dark maskCredit: PA:Press Association

A man holds a placard reading 'Freedom is essential'

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A man holds a placard reading 'Freedom is essential'Credit: Rex Features

Placards read 'No masks' and 'No lockdown'

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Placards read 'No masks' and 'No lockdown'Credit: �2020 Martyn Wheatley / i-Images

A man holds an anarchist flag in Trafalgar Square

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A man holds an anarchist flag in Trafalgar SquareCredit: Rex Features

Protesters run down a street in central London

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Protesters run down a street in central LondonCredit: PA:Press Association

Protestsers want to see lockdowns lifted

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Protestsers want to see lockdowns liftedCredit: PA:Press Association
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