LONDON, November 28. / TASS /. British law enforcement officers detained 155 people in central London who participated in a large-scale protest against the country's quarantine. This is stated in a message released on Saturday by the press service of the Metropolitan Police.
"The arrests were made in connection with the violation of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an attack on a police officer, as well as drug possession. The police took preventive measures to prevent people from gathering in groups, and urged them to go home," … The traffic police stopped several buses with people heading to London to take part in the protests.
Earlier, the Sky News TV channel reported about clashes between police and demonstrators who threw various objects at the police and lit flares. The arrests reportedly took place in Hyde Park, Oxford Street's main shopping street and near King's Cross Station. According to the Daily Mail, several thousand people took to the streets of the capital to express their disagreement with the government's measures to combat the epidemic of the new coronavirus. The demonstrators shouted slogans: "Stop controlling us", "No quarantines", "Remove masks" and "Shame on the police."
Superintendent Stuart Bell, who was in charge of the police operation, said the arrests "were a direct consequence of the violation of the law by these individuals, in some cases showing aggression against police officers and interfering with traffic." On the eve of the planned action, the London police issued a warning that under quarantine conditions, mass events are prohibited and will be suppressed.
Quarantine in the UK
At the end of October, the British government admitted that in the face of the second wave of the pandemic, the only way to prevent a sharp increase in mortality is to introduce a new quarantine. It began to operate in England on November 5 and will last until December 2, after which the system of local restrictions will be returned, which will be stricter than before. The measures proposed by the cabinet this week mean that more than half of the kingdom's population will live under stricter restrictions than those in place prior to the quarantine. In addition, according to experts, the toughening of the previous measures will cost the country's economy 900 million pounds ($ 1.2 billion) a day, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The government has high hopes for a vaccination program that could begin as early as December, but new restrictions may be needed until at least late March or early April. Although the Cabinet of Ministers claims that the level of threat in many regions of the country can be reduced already following the results of the first formal assessment of the epidemiological situation on December 16, experts are pessimistic. According to their estimates, in those parts of the country where the second (high) level of threat of the spread of the virus will be introduced from December 2, it will rather be increased to the third than reduced to the first. Under these conditions, dissatisfaction with the actions of the authorities is expressed not only by ordinary citizens, but also by dozens of deputies from the ruling Conservative Party.