Thousands march in Oxford Street to protest lockdown
by MATTHEW DOOLEY
Police and protestors clashed on Saturday as thousands took to Oxford Street in Central London to protest the national lockdown.
Piers Corbyn, brother of ex-Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, and actor Laurence Fox were among the protestors.
The protest saw minimal social distancing with many protestors challenging mask-wearing bystanders as well as police.
One protestor was heard shouting: “Take your masks off we are marching for freedom.” While other protestors denounced vaccines urging people to refuse them and claiming they were unsafe.
The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines have been approved for use by the NHS and are considered safe.
Police presence was heavy, with officers walking alongside the protestors and riot vans driving behind the column. There have been videos posted on twitter of police making arrests.
The Metropolitan Police tweeted: “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 protest comes one week after police were criticised for their handling of the vigil for Sarah Everard, who was allegedly abducted and murdered by a Met Police officer. During the vigil at least four people were arrested.
Since, more than 60 MPs have signed a letter urging the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to lift restrictions on protesting during lockdown.
Currently, protests are deemed illegal as they are in breach of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The act of protesting is currently in the national spotlight due to the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill, introduced March 9.
If the bill passes, it will give police the power to break up disruptive non-violent protests and impose harsh penalties on those participating.
The bill is currently in the committee stage in the House of Commons.