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17 arrested during Hyde Park anti-lockdown protest
2 January 2021, 17:35
The Metropolitan Police have arrested 17 people on suspicion of breaching Covid rules at an anti-lockdown protest in Hyde Park, London.
Crowds of between 200 to 300 people gathered at the park from around 1.30pm, despite Tier 4 rules banning gatherings of more than two people.
The Met Police deployed a heavy presence in the area, urging "those in the area to leave immediately".
The Metropolitan Police added: "Officers will take enforcement action where we see clear breaches of the Tier 4 rules.
"It's up to all of us to make the right choices and slow the spread of the virus."
#UPDATE | The majority of protesters have now left Hyde Park. 17 people have been arrested on suspicion of breaching Health Protection Regulations. Officers remain in the area.— Metropolitan Police Events (@MetPoliceEvents) January 2, 2021
The protest comes as the UK reported another record high of daily Covid-19 cases, with 57,725 cases - the fifth day over 50,000 cases have been reported.
Just minutes from the anti-lockdown protest, London hospitals are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients, as cases surge in the capital.
Covid patients had to be treated in ambulances outside hospitals on 29 December, as there are reports critical care patients in London could be transferred to Yorkshire due to overcapacity.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman, Ken Marsh, told LBC he hoped those breaking the rules would “have a bit of humanity”.
“If you want to catch it, that is your choice, but you are putting others at risk by your actions.
“I have no problem with lawful demonstrations during normal times, it is part of our DNA, but during this pandemic you are putting people at risk.
“If you want to do that, where is your humanity? It is bonkers."