United Kingdom

Freedom Day protesters chant “arrest Boris Johnson” outside Parliament

There were ugly scenes outside Downing Street today as protesters hurled bottles at police on the day lockdown was lifted.

Large groups of demonstrators chanted “shame on the police” and “arrest Boris Johnson ” during a rally in Parliament Square.

Footage shows objects being hurled at officers as tempers flared in the 29C heat in central London.

Several were brandishing placards with anti-vaccination messages.

A police officer was seen to put a lock on a gate at the entrance to Parliament.

It comes as Covid cases swell, with experts warning that lockdown measures may have to be re-introduced within weeks and the PM urged people in England to be “careful”.

Demonstrators in Parliament Square on England’s so-called Freedom Day

The Met Police posted on Twitter : “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.”

Unfortunately for protesters the Prime Minister was not on hand to hear their calls, as he is isolating at Chequers in Buckinghamshire after coming into contact with Sajid Javid, who tested positive for Covid.

Many on social media questioned why anti-lockdown protesters would be gathering to protest on the day all remaining legal restrictions were lifted.

One woman, who describes herself as a freedom lover, responded: “Can I clear it up for anyone wondering why thousands have gathered at parliament square freedom protest.

“Freedom is having the right to choose to wear masks or not without the constant threats of new winter lockdowns and vaccine passports Today is not true freedom.”

Demonstrators made their displeasure known
Demonstrators made their displeasure known

The Prime Minister last night urged caution as restrictions were lifted on the so-called Freedom Day.

More than 316,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the past week, while hospital admissions have gone up by nearly 40 per cent in seven days.

The heads of 40 cancer charities have signed a letter calling on people to continue wearing masks and to show consideration for others, amid fears the most vulnerable will have their freedom limited.

They wrote: “Many of people will be looking forward to tomorrow as the day they get their “freedoms back”. But for many people with cancer, tomorrow will be a day when freedoms are taken away.

“This is because their cancer, or their treatment for cancer, means the vaccine, even after two doses, is less likely to protect them from serious illness from Covid than it is for the general public.”

Many in the crowd made their opposition to vaccines clear
Many in the crowd made their opposition to vaccines clear

They added: We had hoped the Government would continue to insist people carry on wearing masks and social distancing in crowded places. But given the Government has decided not to do this, we are asking every person in England, knowing you already do so much for people with cancer through the financial support you give us, to do three things to help them further over the next few weeks

“Keep wearing masks in crowded places. There is good evidence they stop the spread, and for all you know, that person sitting a few seats down from you on the bus might be on their way to their chemotherapy appointment.

“Keep your distance from people you don’t know. There is no way of knowing if someone has cancer and so might be vulnerable to the virus, so it’s best to assume everyone you come into contact with might be.

“Get vaccinated if you haven’t done so already. Particularly for people with cancer who have a compromised immune system, the more people who are vaccinated, the safer they will be.”

Speaking in a video posted on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “Go forward tomorrow into the next step with all the right prudence and respect for other people and the risks that the disease continues to present.

“And, above all, please, please, please when you’re asked to get that second jab and get your jab, please come forward and do it.”

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