If only it was a BLM demonstration.
Nobody can answer the question sufficiently.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) November 28, 2020
According to The Guardian, “officers were attempting to disperse the protesters after the Metropolitan police argued the demonstration was unlawful under coronavirus bans on gatherings after the removal of the specific protest exemption.”
Rights groups, however, believe the protests should be permitted under the “reasonable excuse” law, and called the de-facto ban as “alarming.”
— Urban Pictures (@Urban_Pictures) November 28, 2020
Officers faced jeers from demonstrators and chants of “shame on you” and “choose your side” as they sought to end the protest and enter crowds to make arrests, some forcibly. They were also pelted with missiles on at least one occasion, video footage showed.
The Metropolitan police tweeted: “Officers have made over 60 arrests following groups gathering in London today. These were for a number of different offences, including breaching coronavirus restrictions. We expect this number to rise. We continue to urge people to go home.” –The Guardian
“Please ensure you have access to social media throughout the day, as the rally will need to be reactive to circumstances,” wrote anti-lockdown group StandUpX in a Telegram post. “Bring pots, pans, whistles, party horns and anything you can to be heard,” the post continues.
“I got pushed about by police for no reason earlier, just cause they’re squashing up anybody that wants to complain. This is no free country,” one protester told Sky News, while another held a sign saying “Your fear leads to losing our liberty.”
According to police spokesman Stuart Bell, “This type of behaviour not only breaks the law, it also risks spreading the virus between multiple areas of the country. It is for this reason that we urge people not to travel into London and this is also why we will be taking appropriate enforcement action if this happens.”
Here we go again. Why do the Met #TakeTheKnee to #BlackLivesMatter & soft-soap #ExtinctionRebellion – yet send in the bovver-boys to an anti-lockdown protest, or when somebody they don't like speaks at Speaker's Corner?
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) November 28, 2020
“In practice, police are increasingly treating protests as banned,” said Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo, who has campaigned for civil liberties during the lockdown. “The incompetence and casual authoritarianism demonstrated by the Met police here is breathtaking. The right to protest is the bedrock of any democracy. It’s clear to me that there’s a deliberate attempt to chill that right and misrepresent the law,” she added.
“As the government takes unprecedented steps to interfere with our rights, sidelines parliament and attacks the rule of law, undermining protest is another threat to our ability to hold it to account and stand up to power. Protest and dissent are the lifeblood of a healthy democracy, and even more so important in a public emergency,” said Gracie Bradley, interim director of rights group “Liberty.”