- The protesters were ordered to leave Trafalgar Square.
- “With pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers, means we will now be taking enforcement action"
- "The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating."
More than 1,000 people gathered in central London on Saturday, 19, to protest blockade measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The protest, which resulted in several arrests took place as Prime Minister Boris Johnsonis considering reimposing some restrictions across England.
On the street, protesters carried banners saying “Covid is a scam” and “My body, my choice: No to mandatory masks”, in addition to singing to the police, “Choose your side”.
According to the authorities, the protesters were ordered to leave Trafalgar Square, claiming that the demonstration was putting participants and other citizens at risk.
“This, coupled with pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers, means we will now be taking enforcement action to disperse those who remain in the area,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who declared this week that the United Kingdom is facing the second wave of the new coronavirus, has introduced new restrictions for the northern, northwest and central regions of England, the most affected.
Among these measures, the government introduced the legal obligation of self-confinement, starting September 28, for people who test positive or if requested by the National Health Service (SNS).
“The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus. And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace,” the prime minister said in a statement.
The country asks people who test positive to self-confine for 10 days, while those living with someone who is positive or has symptoms should stay for 14 days. If the rules are broken, they will impose fines ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 pounds.
To promote compliance with these standards, low-income people will be able to receive assistance of £ 500 if they are unable to work in teleworking during quarantine.
According to laws introduced to slow the spread of the infection, people in England cannot gather in groups of more than six. There are exemptions for political protests, but only if the organizers follow the guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
Britain has suffered from more than 41,000 deaths related to covid-19. National tests for the disease have not kept up with demand since schools reopened this month.
The increase in the number of cases in parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England has already led to local restrictions on people inviting friends into their homes and reducing the hours of operation in bars and restaurants.