UK police clash with demonstrators outside ex-BBC HQ

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LONDON (AP) — British police clutching batons formed a wall Monday to hold off demonstrators trying to enter the BBC’s former headquarters in west London. No arrests were made.

Video posted on social media showed officers scuffling with protesters, who tried to charge through the doors. The crowd, thought to be anti-vaccination protesters, later moved on to central London.

Groups opposed to the Conservative government’s mass vaccination program and restrictions imposed during the pandemic to control the spread of COVID-19 have criticized the BBC for failing to adequately cover their views.

But the BBC hasn’t owned the site targeted by Monday’s protest since 2013, when it sold the property and relocated to central London. A commercial subsidiary of the BBC still operates three studios on the site, making shows for a variety of broadcasters, including the BBC, Sky and ITV.

Charlene White, a presenter on the ITV program “Loose Women,” said the protest occurred while the show was on the air.

“Huge thanks to the swift response of London’s @metpoliceuk … not an easy situation for them to deal with either,’’ White tweeted. “Not sure what protesters were hoping to achieve, but all they would’ve found was me, Jane, Nadia and Penny on @loosewomen talking about the menopause.”

The demonstration attracted the attention of authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who gave a marathon press conference Monday in the Belarus capital of Minsk and made note of it.

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