Refusing to go gently into the not-so-good night of another wave of COVID-inspired lockdowns, British protesters took to the streets in London on Saturday.
Resistance from the police, who whacked protesters with batons, was matched with scorn from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who decried the “reckless and violent behavior of some protesters” and called them “selfish,” the BBC reported.
Police said nine officers were hurt and 16 people arrested in the second weekend of anti-lockdown protests, according to Reuters.
“I am very frustrated to see that nine officers were injured during clashes with a small minority of protesters,” Metropolitan Police Commander Ade Adelekan said.
“This is especially saddening in light of the injuries sustained by officers last weekend. We will be supporting those officers who were injured and I wish them a very speedy recovery.”
Britain’s traditional protest spot of Trafalgar Square was jammed with thousands of marchers, who waved banners that read “We Do Not Consent” and “COVID 1984.”
Thousands have gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest against the lockdown. I hope the police allow them to peacefully protest, as they did the BLM and XR protestors. pic.twitter.com/Ef4H7uoC0x
— Toby Young (@toadmeister) September 26, 2020
— Minitrue⁺ (@banthebbc) September 26, 2020
Authorities ordered demonstrators to disperse. Even though protests in Britain can exceed six people, the rules require demonstrators to socially distance, which police said did not take place Saturday.
Crowds in Trafalgar Square have not complied with the conditions of their risk assessment and are putting people in danger of transmitting the virus.
This has voided their risk assessment and we have informed the event organisers they are no longer exempt from the regulations. pic.twitter.com/Pe6ODai9BB
— MPS Events (@MetPoliceEvents) September 26, 2020
Khan deplored some of the protesters.
“The reckless and violent behavior of some protesters has left hard-working police officers injured and put the safety of our city, which is at a critical moment in the fight against this virus, at risk. This is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“We cannot let the sacrifices Londoners have made be undermined by the selfish behavior of a small number,” Khan added.
“Violence of this kind towards officers will not be tolerated and perpetrators will feel the full force of the law.”
Reacting to a recent spike in coronavirus cases, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled new restrictions on Tuesday that he said might be in place for six months.
Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues to shut down at 10 p.m, according to The Associated Press. He also called for an increase in working from home.
The new rules require even more people to wear face masks, including taxi passengers and workers in bars and stores.
The restrictions, announced after Britain saw its highest number of daily new positive cases since May, largely ban gatherings of more than six people.
“If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together,” Johnson said Tuesday.
“But now is the time for us all to summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through.”
On Friday, Britain recorded almost 7,000 new coronavirus cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
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