Covid-19: Arrests at London anti-lockdown protest

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Anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in central LondonImage source, EPA
Image caption,
Police clashed with some protesters as they tried to disperse the crowds

Eighteen people have been arrested at a protest in central London over coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Large crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace, where police were stationed, before moving on to Trafalgar Square.

Some protesters carried placards calling for "freedom" and an end to the "tyranny" of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Metropolitan Police said the crowds had been dispersed but urged people to continue social distancing.

There was some disruption on Westminster Bridge as officers tried to break up demonstrators.

The force said three officers had suffered minor injuries.

Arrests were made for a variety of offences, including breaching coronavirus regulations, assaulting an emergency service worker and for violent disorder.

The capital was placed into tier two lockdown restrictions earlier this week.

Commander Ade Adelekan, of the Met, said he had become "increasingly concerned that those in the crowd were not maintaining social distancing or adhering to the terms of their own risk assessment".

He added: "Organisers did not take reasonable steps to keep protesters safe which then voided their risk assessment. At this point, officers then took action to disperse crowds in the interests of public safety.

"I am grateful that the vast majority of people listened to officers and quickly left the area. Frustratingly, a small minority became obstructive, deliberately ignoring officers' instructions and blocking Westminster Bridge.

"Although the majority of protests have concluded, our policing operation will continue into the night and I would urge Londoners to stick to the regulations, avoid gathering in large numbers and maintain social distancing."

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