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Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

By The Associated Press
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LONDON (AP) — Police in London have clashed with protesters at a rally organized by opponents of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square. Some protesters formed blockades to stop officers from making arrests, and traffic was brought to a halt in the busy area.

The “Resist and Act for Freedom” rally saw dozens of people holding banners and placards such as one reading “This is now Tyranny” and chanting “Freedom!” Police said there were “pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers.”

Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, but officials are considering even stricter restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Britain is “now seeing a second wave” of the coronavirus, after seeing the same in France, Spain and across Europe.

Britain has Europe’s worst death toll in the pandemic with 41,821 confirmed virus-related deaths, but experts say all numbers undercount the true impact of the pandemic.

In a statement, British police said protesters were “putting themselves and others at risk” and urged all those at the London rally to disperse immediately or risk arrest.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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