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Three officers injured as police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in central London
21 June 2021, 19:42
Three officers have been injured as police clashed with anti-lockdown protesters in central London on what would have been England's 'Freedom Day'.
Some 14 people were arrested during the demonstration in Westminster on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said.
It comes on the 21st of June date that had previously been lined up by Boris Johnson as the day all coronavirus restrictions in England were going to be lifted.
However, last Monday - on 14 June - the prime minister confirmed lockdown measures would be kept in place for at least another four weeks until 19 July.
The announcement sparked widespread anger across the country, with protesters coming out in their droves to express their dismay at the decision.
Today, the Met said the demonstration in the capital saw traffic blocked and people becoming "obstructive and hostile" towards officers.
Mounted branch units were among those deployed on Monday, the force wrote on Twitter.
Protesters made their way through Parliament Square and Whitehall, while it was also reported a crowd had gathered on Bridge Street.
In a later statement, the Met said 14 people were arrested "for a variety of offences, including obstructing the highway, public order offences, assaulting an emergency service worker and for breach of bail conditions".
However, it said the injuries to the three police officers were "not serious".
"We've made fourteen arrests while policing a demonstration in #Westminster today," the force wrote on Twitter.
"Three police officers were injured, thankfully their injuries are not serious."
The police operation will continue into the evening and those who continue to gather are being urged to comply with government regulations to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Earlier, the Met said: "We are engaging with a crowd gathering on Bridge Street, #Westminster who are blocking traffic and being obstructive and hostile to officers.
"Eight arrests have been made so far. We are working to keep traffic moving and minimise disruption to the local community.
Another post read: "We are aware of a demonstration in Parliament Square and along Whitehall, #Westminster.
"A policing plan is in place throughout the day.
"Officers, including units from our Mounted Branch, are on scene and are engaging with those taking part in this demonstration.