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Million Mask March: Anti-lockdown protesters arrested London on first night of shutdown

Anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested in central London on the first night of England’s second coronavirus shutdown.

Dozens of demonstrators remained “kettled” by police on Oxford Street at 9pm on Thursday night after scores marched from Trafalgar Square despite Covid-19 restrictions.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the total number of arrests had not yet been tallied, suggesting there may be more to come.

Scores of demonstrators initially converged on Trafalgar Square for the annual Million Mask March, an anti-government protest associated with the hacker group Anonymous, which typically falls on the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’s attempt to blow up parliament and is inspired in part by the film and graphic novel V for Vendetta.

In a clip posted to Twitter, TalkRadio’s Andre Walker filmed himself wearing a Guy Fawkes mask in support of those on the march, claiming the government’s “tyrannical” response is “a threat to our very way of life”, adding: “I’m delighted to wear this mask, and I’m delighted to see people standing up for freedom, for decency, and for proper genuine British values.”

Social media footage showed crowds, only a fraction of whom sported the typical Guy Fawkes masks – or any type of face covering – chanting “stand up, take your freedom back”.

“A large crowd of protesters are at Oxford Street and continue to gather,” the Met wrote on Twitter. “Arrests have been made as demonstrators failed to comply with the directions of officers. 

“We continue to urge people to go home. We remain in a health crisis.”

Under previous lockdown coronavirus legislations, those wishing to protest must first submit a risk assessment to the police, and the legality of demonstrations are dependent upon social distancing and the use of face coverings, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

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