Anti-mask protesters descend on London streets

24 October 2020, 15:09 | Updated: 24 October 2020, 17:11

By Maddie Goodfellow

Anti-mask protesters have gathered in central London to demand an end to lockdown rules.

It is the fourth protest in the capital against lockdown, as people call for an a stop to restrictions in the fight against coronavirus.

Hundreds of protesters travelled from across the country to demonstrate against stricter lockdown rules being brought in.

The demonstration today began at noon at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, before a march set off through central London.

Read more: Five arrests and police officer injured at London anti-mask protest

Read more: "Opinion vs fact": James O'Brien links Brexiteers, anti-vaxxers and face mask objectors

Most of the protesters could be seen without masks on and not sticking to social distancing as they stood close together in huge numbers.

They were urged to join the protest "against Covid scam and tyranny" on social media prior to the march.

Protesters were not observing social distancing
Protesters were not observing social distancing. Picture: PA

Louise Creffield, the founder of Save Our Rights UK, one of the organisations behind the demonstration, said: “We believe that the coronavirus regulations that are in place are not proportionate and appropriate, and are causing more harm than good.

“We are very concerned with protecting people’s human rights: right to privacy, family life, bodily autonomy, medical freedoms, and so on. We are not just concerned with lockdowns per se, we are concerned with the infringements with our privacy by having this track and trace everywhere.

“The impact of the actions taken by the government are numerous, so we are not willing to support that, and we are keen to take a stance.”

Protestors said they were campaigning for "rights"
Protesters said they were campaigning for "rights". Picture: PA

It comes as police are urged people to comply with Covid-19 regulations ahead of protests and events over the weekend.

The Metropolitan Police have issued an open letter to anyone who is organising or planning to take part in any public gathering, warning that they may be at risk of committing a criminal offence.

The force said they "strongly advise" people not to attend any large gatherings for the protection of themselves and others.

Officers will be engaging with crowds at events, explaining and encouraging those present to stick to the rules.

Those who fail to comply, deliberately ignore the instructions of officers and put other people at risk of transmitting the virus will be subjected to enforcement action in line with the regulations, the Met said.

Under current regulations, no one can participate in a gathering of more than six people outdoors unless certain exemptions apply.

Protests including an anti-Trump demonstration, a protest over the detention of Hong Kong demonstrators and a Save Our Rights march are planned for this weekend.

As well as these, officers have also received information that unlicensed music events (UMEs) are being organised across the capital.

The Met said these events remain illegal and officers will look to shut them down and take action against organisers.

Ade Adelekan, police gold commander for Saturday, said: "As Covid-19 cases rise across the capital, it is vitally important for us all to stick to the regulations which are there to keep everyone safe.

"Throughout London, we will have officers on hand to respond to reports of breaches but to also engage with communities on the rules.

"I would urge those looking at attending a protest tomorrow that these events may not be exempt from the regulations if the organisers do not comply with the regulations and submit a satisfactory risk assessment.

"This could result in crowds being dispersed or indeed enforcement action being taken by officers on scene.

"Everybody has a personal responsibility to stick to the regulations and help prevent the transmission of coronavirus.

He said the force will not allow the health of Londoners to be put at risk and added they will take action against groups or individuals "who flagrantly and dangerously breach these rules".