Protesters clash with riot police as they 'dangerously' fire flares outside Parliament

5 November 2021, 20:14 | Updated: 6 November 2021, 01:27

By Megan Hinton

A number of officers have been injured after hundreds of protesters clashed with police in central London during the annual Million Mask March.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Eight police officers were injured in the frenzy and 12 arrests were made at the event, police said.

Protesters - believed to be a mix of anti-establishment and anti-vaxxers - wore Guy Fawkes masks as they made their way across London tonight setting of rockets, flares and fireworks.

The annual march is in its ninth year and sees protesters rallying against the government rules and more recently lockdown restrictions, mask wearing and vaccinations.

Protesters have been spotted setting Boris Johnson effigies alight in Trafalgar Square as well as setting off fireworks.

A crowd gathered to watch, with one member shouting "burn, Boris, burn".

It has forced the Metropolitan police to erect barricades across the city and deploy officers in riot gear.

On Twitter, the Met Police said: "A crowd in Parliament Square have been dangerously lighting fireworks and rockets.

Protesters have been spotted setting Boris Johnson effigies alight
Protesters have been spotted setting Boris Johnson effigies alight. Picture: Alamy/social media

"Some have struck people or exploded near to the crowd, this could cause very serious injury. We have moved into the crowd to remove any fireworks and prevent people coming to harm."

A Section 35 dispersal order has since been put in place for Parliament Square and areas in Westminster.

The precautionary measures come after over 100 people were arrested at the march last year including Piers Corbyn, for breaching lockdown restrictions.

Mounting divisions and dog units and the National Police Air Service have also been called in to support officers after intelligence suggested "some groups are intent on causing disorder or targeting police officers with violence".

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors, said: "Residents and visitors to central London today can expect to see a higher number of police officers on duty throughout the course of the day.

Read more: 'Distraught': Wife of bedsit killer reveals horror at husband's sick crimes

"Officers are there to keep people safe and to respond quickly to any potential disorder of violence.

"Groups of course have the right to protest, but I am particularly concerned that some groups are specifically intending to travel into London to deliberately cause violence and disorder including targeting police officers.

"This will not be tolerated and our policing plan has been developed with this potential risk in mind. Our patrols will be highly visible and we will be working closely throughout the operation with the City of London Police and the British Transport Police."

Read more: Cleo Smith kidnap suspect winks as he's taken to maximum security prison