London, Nov 6 (PTI) Scotland Yard officers policing demonstrations in London said on Friday that they have made 104 arrests as part of efforts to contain large anti-lockdown protests as England has entered its second stay-at-home coronavirus restrictions.
As soon as crowds began gathering, the Metropolitan Police said its officers took immediate action to direct people to go home, arrests were made as people failed to comply with the direction.
“A crowd of people chose to ignore the new regulations, to behave irresponsibly and meet in a dangerous manner. More than 100 of these people have now been arrested and will have to face the consequences of their actions,” said Commander Jane Connors, leading the Met Police operation in central London on Thursday evening.
“We are eight months into this national pandemic and frankly there can be no excuse for people to dangerously breach regulations which are there to prevent further spread of coronavirus… I would continue to urge people across the city to keep yourselves safe and stick to the regulations,” she said.
Protesters, including those masked reflecting the “Million Mask March”, could be seen walking and chanting 'freedom' and 'no more lockdown'.
The anti-establishment Million Mask March is associated with the 'hacktivist' group Anonymous.
Attendees frequently wear masks similar to those from the film ‘V for Vendetta’, in which a hooded figure calls for an uprising on the streets of London against the dystopian authoritarian British government.
New restrictions now in place across England until at least December 2 mean people should stay at home except for education, work, exercise, medical reasons, shopping for essentials, or to care for others. Households are not allowed to mix with others indoors or outdoors.
The demonstrators were repeatedly told to go home, with officers shouting at a group: 'You are breaking the law.' Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was among those at Trafalgar Square. He has been previously handed a fixed penalty notice, or a fine, for similar demonstrations.
“No more lockdown, no more cover-ups, no more masks, no more lies,' read one placard.
It came as students at Manchester University tore down 'prison like' fencing erected on the campus at the start of the latest lockdown. The university later apologised for the 'concern and distress' caused. PTI AK CPS