LONDON (Reuters) — Scuffles emerged during an anti-lockdown protest in London on Saturday as thousands of protesters were stopped by police as they were marching down the streets of the British capital.
Wearing no face masks and flouting social distancing rules, demonstrators descended in central London despite police warning.
Under England’s coronavirus rules, it is unlawful for groups to gather for protests and police warned people on Saturday not to head to central London for planned demonstrations.
Police said that a significant operation will be in place in London to engage with people breaching COVID-19 regulations, adding that any protesters will be encouraged to return home or could face fines or arrest.
More than 60 British lawmakers have written to interior minister Priti Patel calling for protests to be allowed in England during lockdown after police were criticized for using heavy-handed tactics on March 13 to break up an outdoor vigil for 33-year-old Sarah Everard. A police officer has been charged with her kidnap and murder.
Further protests followed, fuelled by anger over government plans to tighten the law on demonstrations.