Anti-vaxx protesters clash with police while storming Westfield shopping centre

29 May 2021, 20:17 | Updated: 30 May 2021, 16:51

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Hundreds of anti-vaccine protesters have clashed with police after storming a busy shopping centre in west London.

A large group of anti-vaxx demonstrators descended upon the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush on Saturday following a day of protests in the capital.

Images posted online show people clashing with officers and some lighting red flares inside the building.

Videos shared also show dozens of anti-vaxxers singing and chanting after entering Westfield.

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At around 7:45pm, the Met said the incident in the shopping centre "has now finished, officers have withdrawn and the area is returning to normal".

Earlier, the force said the protest was "causing significant disruption to the local community and businesses".

Police were sent to the building and remained on the scene for just less than two hours.

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It came as hundreds of people gathered in central London on Saturday for a demonstration against Covid-19 jabs.

Vast swathes of a crowd that had descended upon Parliament Square travelled from outside the capital.

Some claimed the pandemic was a hoax and demonstrated against the idea of vaccine passports.

Anti-vaxxers clashed with police but were removed from Westfield shortly after
Anti-vaxxers clashed with police but were removed from Westfield shortly after. Picture: Twitter: @damiengayle
Anti-vaxx protesters stormed the Shepherds Bush Westfield shopping centre this evening
Anti-vaxx protesters stormed the Shepherds Bush Westfield shopping centre this evening. Picture: Twitter

Others carried placards reading: "My body, my choice."

Smoke bombs were let off and one person launched a firework.

One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he had come "because I want to be free and I want you to be free and the government are lying to us".

A woman said she had attended because the media "are lying to us".

Elsewhere, protesters at Trafalgar Square covered a bus in anti-vaccine stickers that read: "There Is No Pandemic", "Stay Free" and "Truth Will Win".

Chief Superintendent Roy Smith wrote on Twitter: "Thank you to officers policing London events since this morning.

"Disappointing that a small minority decided that disrupting Londoners going about their lawful business using violence & intimidation was reasonable.

"Our officers responded swiftly, robustly & with professionalism."