ANTI-LOCKDOWN protesters clash with police in central London a week after Sarah Everard vigil.
Police clashed with Covid lockdown protesters in London on Saturday, March 20 amid criticism surrounding the Met Police’s handling of the Sarah Everard vigil last week.
The protest started at Hyde Park and continued onto Oxford Street, despite previous warnings of fines and arrests for breaching lockdown rules.
Thousands of protesters, including Piers Corbyn and Laurence Fox, marched through the streets of London. Video footage from the protests showed officers confronting the public as people were pulled to the ground and handcuffed while demonstrators shouted “shame on you.”
The Met Police said on Twitter: “Met officers are engaging with those gathering around Piccadilly and other areas of central London to protest, explaining that we remain in a public health crisis and urging people to disperse or go home.”
The protests come as more than 60 MPs and peers have signed a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning that allowing police to criminalise people for protesting “is not acceptable and is arguably not lawful.” The letter was co-ordinated by Liberty and Big Brother Watch.
The letter follows public outcry over the way the Met Police handled a vigil last week on Clapham Common in memory of Sarah Everard.
Sam Grant, head of policy and campaigns at Liberty, said: “In a healthy democracy, protest is a critical way we can fight for what we believe in.”
“The Government’s current quasi-ban on protest is completely unacceptable.”
“Last week, the police conceded protest is not banned under the lockdown regulations but used them to threaten then arrest demonstrators anyway.”
Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said: “A country cannot be described as a democracy if people do not have the freedom to protest. The harrowing scenes of police officers using force against women at Clapham Common recently were avoidable and wrong.”
“Over the past week, many more demonstrators and even legal observers have been arrested or fined. This stain on our democracy is a direct consequence of this Government’s disrespect for the most basic of British democratic freedoms.”
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