Thousands of anti-lockdown protestors have packed Trafalgar Square for the second Saturday running to demonstrate against restrictions under a “we do not consent” banner.
Conspiracy theorist David Icke and Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers are among the protestors who “did not appear to be social distancing or wearing masks as they demonstrated against government rules”, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile the Telegraph report that “two-thirds of Britons think restrictions do not go far enough” with the majority in favour of closing beauty salons and gyms immediately.
People made fearful by government warnings, claims senior Tory
A poll of 2,087 adults found 63% believing the latest restrictions put in place by Boris Johnson’s government earlier this week are insufficient, with 83% saying they were worried about of second wave of Covid-19 “hitting the UK hard”.
A “senior Tory” claims the public have “been driven to backing ‘authoritarian’ measures” because they have been “made ‘fearful’ by government warnings” about the virus, reports the Telegraph, suggesting Johnson faces a rebellion from MPs concerned about the introduction of curbs to basic freedoms “without Parliament having a say.”
Police have warned anti-lockdown protestors not to break social distancing laws. In England, protests are exempt from the rule-of-six – that limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to six people in England, with some exceptions – but organisers must comply with social distancing and submit a risk assessment of the event.
Protestors clashed with police at last week’s “Resist and Act For Freedom” rally when 32 arrests were made and 15 officers were injured and the BBC reported this afternoon (Saturday): “Earlier, police confiscated a makeshift riot shield from one man.”
‘Great frustration to these regulations’, says Met commander
A statement from the Metropolitan Police, released before today’s protest, said that while some organisers of today’s event have followed the rules, the police “will increase their engagement and encourage attendees to disperse” where rules are not adhered to. Enforcement “remains a last resort but will be undertaken if required”, assured the Met.
Commander Ade Adelekan is leading today’s Met operation and said: “I know there is great frustration to these regulations but they have been designed to keep everyone safe from what is a lethal virus.
“By flagrantly gathering in large numbers and ignoring social distancing, you are putting your health and the health of your loved ones at risk.”
Adelekan described the violence of last weekend’s protest as “highly disappointing” and added: “Some 15 officers were injured during this protest, with more than 32 arrests being made during the course of the day.
“I will not tolerate a repeat of this behaviour this weekend and officers will respond quickly to any scenes of violence.”
Among those tweeting under ‘#WeDoNotConsent’ Charlotte Gracias posted footage of today’s demonstration to her 12,600 followers, with the message: “The crowds get bigger at every protest. More people are waking up. Stand up and fight for your rights.”
London faces ban on households mixing
The latest protest started as the Times published a report claiming “10m people in London face local lockdown” with a ban on households mixing set to be implemented “within days.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan said the city is “at a very worrying tipping point,” adding: “We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions and patients in intensive care units.”
New measures put in place across the UK this weekend means more than a quarter of the population are now living under some form of tighter lockdown restrictions.