Police confronted protesters chanting ‘take your freedom back’ as they marched through Clapham on Saturday to call for opposition against national lockdown measures ordering people to stay at home.
The protest, organised by group StandupX, was attended by a few dozen people who marched from Clapham Common, in south London, and then down the high street, prompting car drivers to blare their horns.
Other demonstrations were also held in Newcastle and Bournemouth where activists were detained by police as confrontations broke out.
After reaching the Argos store in Clapham, a video which was broadcast online showed brief scuffles between protesters and the Metropolitan Police as they appeared to arrest one man. At least 10 officers could be seen surrounding the protesters.
Further scuffles then broke out outside a nearby Sainsbury’s store as officers made another arrest. Police said in a statement posted on Twitter that they had detained 12 people.
It comes after the Metropolitan Police warned its officers will take action against protesters and will fine them the first time they are caught flouting lockdown rules.
New lockdown measures ordering Britons to stay at home except for exercise and to go to work if they cannot work from home were imposed last week amid skyrocketing coronavirus infection and hospitalisation rates.
In an open letter, the force said it was ‘aware’ of groups looking to gather to protest.
The letter warned that officers would take ‘appropriate enforcement’ and said ‘we are still in the middle of a global pandemic’.