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

10 October 2020, 16:30

One police officer was injured after a liquid was sprayed onto a building in Kingsway
One police officer was injured after a liquid was sprayed onto a building in Kingsway. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Five people have been arrested and a police officer has been injured at an anti-mask protest in London that was calling for an end to lockdown.

The officer was injured after a liquid was sprayed on to a building in Kingsway, central London, shortly before 2pm on Saturday.

Demonstrators marched from Hyde Park to outside Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Downing Street home to demand an end to the coronavirus lockdown and to protest the wearing of face coverings.

People could be seen holding signs that read 'I will not vaccinate', 'Freedom of speech is our right, Covid-19 is a hoax' and 'Curfews equal Nazification'.

Dozens of Metropolitan Police officers were deployed in the capital to keep the protest under control.

Most of those taking part were not wearing masks as they marched towards Parliament Square.

Read more: PM to make statement on Covid restrictions to MPs on Monday

Read more: Masks should be mandatory outdoors and in offices, say doctors

Some of those taking part in the march in London held banners that simply read 'Truth'
Some of those taking part in the march in London held banners that simply read 'Truth'. Picture: PA
One sign read 'Curfews equal Nazification'
One sign read 'Curfews equal Nazification'. Picture: PA

Among the attendees was former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers, who has previously been fined £10,000 for organising a rally during lockdown.

Others present at the march were a man dressed as a clown, someone impersonating Mr Johnson, and a prankster wearing a high-vis jacket saying 'Covid marshal'.

Speaking on Twitter, Met Commander Catherine Roper urged people not to convene in groups of more than six.

She wrote: "The @MetPoliceUK wants to remind those attending gatherings in #London that we remain in a public health crisis.

"Without an approved risk assessment you must not gather in groups more than 6 & if event organiser has got risk assessment pls comply with measures & socially distance."

Read more: Leaders in north of England criticise plans for tougher Covid measures

Read more: 'Tier three in Liverpool within days', says mayor

It comes ahead of the prime minister making a statement to MPs on Monday, during which he is expected to announce a new three-tier lockdown system.

The UK leader will use the occasion to outline a new "tiered" approach to how local Covid situations will be treated.

It is thought that parts of the north of England where coronavirus cases have continued to rise will face tougher restrictions, such as the closure of pubs and restaurants.

The three-tier plan is thought to involve three alert levels labelled Red, Amber and Green.

Red would mean no social contact with anyone outside your own household in any setting, hospitality and leisure businesses closed and amateur sports cancelled.

Amber would mean no social contact in private homes or gardens outside your 'bubble'. Care home visits should be avoided and people should only make essential journeys.

Green would mean the rule of six would be in effect for social gatherings, face masks should be worn in shops, pubs and on public transport, a 10pm hospitality curfew, a 15-person limit at weddings and 30 at funerals.

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