Anti-vax louts lob bottles at police during clash outside Parliament as Piers Corbyn leads thousands of conspiracy theorists storming central London for start of three days of protests to mark ‘Freedom Day’
- Police officers are attacked by anti-vaccination protesters in front of Houses of Parliament today
- Traffic is brought to standstill as demonstration takes hold of large area around Parliament Square
- Activists chant ‘shame on police’ and ‘arrest Boris Johnson’ while holding placards in Westminster
Police officers were attacked by anti-vaccination protesters this afternoon in front of the Houses of Parliament as traffic was brought to a standstill amid violent scenes.
Video footage showed punches being thrown and bottles hurtling towards officers as they urged the demonstrators to move out of the road in 84F (29C) heat.
Activists chanted ‘shame on police’ and ‘arrest Boris Johnson‘ as they moved from Parliament Square onto the road and up to the gates of the Palace of Westminster.
Among the protesters was Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a regular feature at anti-lockdown protests since the pandemic began.
Anti-vaccination protesters gather at Parliament Square in Westminster this afternoon
Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with anti-vaccination protesters in London today
Protesters confront a police line and shout towards the Houses of Parliament this afternoon
Video footage showed bottles hurtling towards officers in Westminster this afternoon
A protester shouts and holds up signs with a boy at Parliament Square during the protest this afternoon
Protesters blocking the roads shout slogans towards the Houses of Parliament from Parliament Square today
One police officer was seen to put a lock on a gate at the entrance to Parliament while those outside held signs with anti-vaccination and anti-police messages.
Scotland Yard said officers were responding to protesters in Parliament Square after those taking part in an anti-vaccination demonstration blocked a road in the area.
The force tweeted: ‘We are responding to a demonstration in Parliament Square this afternoon. A group have blocked the road which is causing traffic disruption.
‘Officers are on scene, speaking with those taking part in the protest and looking to ease congestion as soon as possible.’
Anti-vaccination protesters sit in the road as they hold a demonstration in Parliament Square this afternoon
Police were seen urging the demonstrators to move out of the road in 84F (29C) heat today
Anti-vaccination protesters hold a demonstration in Parliament Square today as they hold up placards
Protesters confront police outside the Houses of Parliament during the demonstration today
An activist gets into a tussle with police during the anti-vaccination demonstration today
The demonstrators stage a protest at Parliament Square in Westminster this afternoon
Protesters shout towards the Houses of Parliament during the demonstration in London today
It comes as Boris Johnson appealed to people to exercise their new freedoms with caution as most mandatory lockdown restrictions in England are finally lifted.
Social-distancing rules which, in one form or another, have governed people’s lives for over a year finally ended this morning at one minute past midnight.
Face masks are no longer mandatory in shops and on public transport, limits on gathering have gone and the work from home guidance has ended.
Nightclubs, theatres and restaurants can fully reopen, while pubs are no longer restricted to table service only.
Protesters confront a police line at the Houses of Parliament during today’s demonstration
A demonstrator holds a sign up during the protest in Parliament Square this morning
A protester wearing a Matt Hancock mask calls for the former health secretary to be arrested
Activists hold signs with anti-vaccination and anti-police messages in Westminster today
A woman walks through Parliament Square where the demonstration is happening today
But with Covid-19 cases continuing to soar and renewed warnings about the pressure on the NHS, there was no mood of celebration in Government.
Mr Johnson is spending so-called ‘freedom day’ self-isolating at his official country residence at Chequers after being ‘pinged’ by NHS Test and Trace.
This follows a contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who subsequently tested positive for the virus on Saturday.
Meanwhile businesses have warned of shortages on the shelves as the number of people off work after being pinged by the NHS Covid app continues to rise.