Sixteen people have been arrested during an anti-lockdown protest in Clapham Common over the weekend.
There were reports of police officers clashing with some of the ‘maskless protesters’ who arrived in Clapham Common, some shouting “take your freedom back”.
Six police vans were deployed to the scene while officers moved the crowd of about 30 people away from the area.
A spokesman for the Met police confirmed: “A total of 16 people were arrested for offences under the Health Protection Coronavirus, Restrictions Regulations 2020 after gathering at a protest in Clapham Common; 22 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “For those planning on demonstrating, you are reminded of your obligation to adhere to the government guidelines and stay at home.
“If people are found to be in breach of regulations, put in place to keep the public safe, then they can expect to see enforcement from officers.
“This will not just be organisers of the gatherings but participants too – by now everyone knows their part to play in stopping the spread of the virus.
“People that gather as part of this protest today risk the health of Londoners.
“I will not tolerate this and that is why we have a policing plan in place to disperse crowds and if necessary, take enforcement action.”
Protesters can been seen marching on the streets chanting “Take your freedom back, stand up.”
The protest follows the announcement of a ‘major incident’ in London, as hospitals risk becoming ‘overwhelmed’ by the surge in cases of Covid-19.
City Hall reported Covid-19 cases in the capital had exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, while there were 35% more people in hospital with the virus than in the peak of the pandemic in April.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: “The announcement that London has declared a major incident in the battle against Coronavirus is a stark reminder of the critical point we are at.
“Our health service colleagues are fighting this virus every day on the frontline, but the case rate continues to increase and the number of people affected in London is alarming.
“Now more than ever is the moment for people to stick to the rules, and stay at home.
“These rule breakers cannot continue to feign ignorance of the risk that this virus poses or listen to the false information and lies that some promote downplaying the dangers.
“Every time the virus spreads it increases the risk of someone needlessly losing their life.”
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