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Anti-lockdown protesters chanting 'freedom' clash with police

At least 24 people have today been arrested after anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police when hundreds took to the streets in a fight against coronavirus restrictions.   

Rallies were held in Bournemouth, London and Liverpool, where a growing crowd chanted ‘freedom’ as they marched through the city centre in the rain this afternoon.

The group in Merseyside were shepherded by police, who later moved in to make arrests, with some demonstrators seen being pepper sprayed as they grappled with officers on the ground.

It is thought that the protest began at 1pm and started with around 100 people gathered on Church Street before the group grew significantly in size.

At least 15 people were arrested during the demonstration in Liverpool, Merseyside Police confirmed.

Those detained were held on suspicion of breaching public order and Covid-19 rules and the force has implemented a dispersal zone in the city until tomorrow. 

Rallies were also held in London, where the Metropolitan Police confirmed four were arrested for breach of Covid-19 regulations after gathering at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.

Officers confirmed those detained remained in custody this afternoon while the ‘remainder of the crowd have been dispersed’.     

Michael Walsh, of the Central West Command Unit, said: ‘We take reports of breaches of Covid-19 restrictions seriously. We are still in a pandemic and it is extremely selfish of a small minority of people to carry on without regard for the regulations.’ 

There were similar scenes on the south coast, with social distancing nowhere to be seen as activists marched through the seaside town of Bournemouth, holding placards reading ‘freedom’ and ‘the pandemic is over’. 

Dorset Police confirmed two men were arrested on suspicion of breaching Covid-19 regulations amid the demonstration. Officers added the crowd of around 100 people was dispersed at The Square at 2.45pm, two hours after the rally began.

It comes as Britain today recorded 391 new hospital deaths in the highest Saturday increase since May – up 21 since last Saturday.

A man is arrested and pepper sprayed at a large anti lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

A man is arrested and pepper sprayed at a large anti lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

Police wearing face coverings restrain one of the protesters at the large rally in the rain through Liverpool city centre today

Police wearing face coverings restrain one of the protesters at the large rally in the rain through Liverpool city centre today

Police wearing face coverings restrain one of the protesters at the large rally in the rain through Liverpool city centre today

A protester is arrested by police officers for taking part in a demonstration against the second national lockdown in London

A protester is arrested by police officers for taking part in a demonstration against the second national lockdown in London

A protester is arrested by police officers for taking part in a demonstration against the second national lockdown in London

A man is arrested by two officers during the demonstration in the drizzle in Liverpool city centre earlier this afternoon

A man is arrested by two officers during the demonstration in the drizzle in Liverpool city centre earlier this afternoon

A man is arrested by two officers during the demonstration in the drizzle in Liverpool city centre earlier this afternoon

Police grapple with a protester on the ground as crowds of others watch on during a day of demonstrations in Liverpool

Police grapple with a protester on the ground as crowds of others watch on during a day of demonstrations in Liverpool

Police grapple with a protester on the ground as crowds of others watch on during a day of demonstrations in Liverpool 

A man comes face to face with a police officer as scenes turned ugly during an anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool today

A man comes face to face with a police officer as scenes turned ugly during an anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool today

A man comes face to face with a police officer as scenes turned ugly during an anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool today

A man is arrested and pepper sprayed at a large anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

A man is arrested and pepper sprayed at a large anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

A man is arrested and pepper sprayed at a large anti-lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

In Basildon, Essex, footage today captured police clash with protesters amid a ‘large unauthorised gathering’ in the town centre. 

The protest, which breached the Government’s Covid-19 measures, led to several arrests after ‘attempts to engage with those attending were unsuccessful’, Essex Police said.

Officers have put a dispersal order in place within the boundaries of Great Oaks and Southernhay, with the force adding: ‘We know this is a challenging time but we all have a responsibility to follow the regulations and keep each other safe.’ 

And in Ipswich, three were arrested as police ‘re-emphasised their message that there is no exemption for participating in protests.’ The arrests were made today during an anit-coronavirus lockdown rally. 

Protesters in Liverpool were photographed clashing with police today as officers swooped in to make arrests following the demonstration.

The rallies were sparked by Boris Johnson’s latest Covid-19 restrictions, which closed all non-essential shops, bars and restaurants in England for four weeks from November 5.

Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, of Merseyside Police, said: ‘The vast majority of people in Merseyside have made huge sacrifices since March, missing weddings, funerals and family celebrations in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.

‘We have seen infection rates driven down in Merseyside thanks to the commitment of so many people, and already more than 140,000 have taken part in a mass testing pilot here in Merseyside to help the national effort to protect life and get back to normality. They are a credit to this county.

‘So it will be incredibly frustrating for all those people to see that a minority of selfish individuals chose to flout laws brought in to protect the lives of people, putting our communities and themselves at risk.

‘Their actions have posed a significant risk to public health and we will continue to study CCTV and bodycam to identify offenders and bring them to justice.

‘We have arrested 15 people so far and dispersed many more. Our officers – deployed to encourage people to do the right thing and to carry out enforcement to protect the public – have been subjected to mindless abuse from many of those gathered, but continued to carry out their duties with complete professionalism.’

She added: ‘This pandemic has, understandably, left many fearful of contracting and passing on coronavirus. The sight of a large group in the city centre will alarm many who are now well aware of the risk large groups can pose to the spreading of this virus.

It comes as Britain today recorded 391 new hospital deaths in the highest Saturday increase since May - up 21 since last Saturday

It comes as Britain today recorded 391 new hospital deaths in the highest Saturday increase since May - up 21 since last Saturday

It comes as Britain today recorded 391 new hospital deaths in the highest Saturday increase since May – up 21 since last Saturday

Rallies were today held in London, where Metropolitan Police confirmed four were arrested for breach of Covid-19 regulations after gathering at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park

Rallies were today held in London, where Metropolitan Police confirmed four were arrested for breach of Covid-19 regulations after gathering at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park

Rallies were today held in London, where Metropolitan Police confirmed four were arrested for breach of Covid-19 regulations after gathering at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park

Officers confirmed those detained today remained in custody while the 'remainder of the crowd have been dispersed'. Pictured: A man is arrested in London

Officers confirmed those detained today remained in custody while the 'remainder of the crowd have been dispersed'. Pictured: A man is arrested in London

Officers confirmed those detained today remained in custody while the ‘remainder of the crowd have been dispersed’. Pictured: A man is arrested in London

Anti-lockdown protester gestures to police officers during the march through Bournemouth town centre today

Anti-lockdown protester gestures to police officers during the march through Bournemouth town centre today

Anti-lockdown protester gestures to police officers during the march through Bournemouth town centre today

A man is restrained by police officers during the rally in which people marched through Liverpool shouting 'freedom'

A man is restrained by police officers during the rally in which people marched through Liverpool shouting 'freedom'

A man is restrained by police officers during the rally in which people marched through Liverpool shouting ‘freedom’

In England 316 people who tested positive for coronavirus were confirmed to have died in the past 24 hours, while in Scotland there were 37 deaths and in Wales the toll rose by 28. Pictured: Bournemouth today

In England 316 people who tested positive for coronavirus were confirmed to have died in the past 24 hours, while in Scotland there were 37 deaths and in Wales the toll rose by 28. Pictured: Bournemouth today

In England 316 people who tested positive for coronavirus were confirmed to have died in the past 24 hours, while in Scotland there were 37 deaths and in Wales the toll rose by 28. Pictured: Bournemouth today

Social distancing nowhere to be seen as activists marched through the seaside town of Bournemouth today, holding placards reading 'freedom' and 'the pandemic is over'

Social distancing nowhere to be seen as activists marched through the seaside town of Bournemouth today, holding placards reading 'freedom' and 'the pandemic is over'

Social distancing nowhere to be seen as activists marched through the seaside town of Bournemouth today, holding placards reading ‘freedom’ and ‘the pandemic is over’

An anti-lockdown protester holds up a sign saying 'The Pandemic is Over' during the rally in Bournemouth this afternoon

An anti-lockdown protester holds up a sign saying 'The Pandemic is Over' during the rally in Bournemouth this afternoon

An anti-lockdown protester holds up a sign saying ‘The Pandemic is Over’ during the rally in Bournemouth this afternoon

An activist holds up a sign saying 'freedom' during the anti-lockdown march in the seaside town of Bournemouth this afternoon

An activist holds up a sign saying 'freedom' during the anti-lockdown march in the seaside town of Bournemouth this afternoon

An activist holds up a sign saying ‘freedom’ during the anti-lockdown march in the seaside town of Bournemouth this afternoon 

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen as the group made their way through Bournemouth town centre to take action

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen as the group made their way through Bournemouth town centre to take action

Social distancing was nowhere to be seen as the group made their way through Bournemouth town centre to take action

Pictured: Protests in Basildon today

Pictured: Protests in Basildon today

Pictured: Protests in Basildon today

Pictured: Protests in Basildon today

In Basildon, Essex, footage captured police clash with protesters amid a ‘large unauthorised gathering’ in the town centre

‘We introduced a Section 34 Dispersal Zone in the city centre, and deployed significant resources into the city to ensure we could deal with this gathering, encouraging those involved to disperse and taking enforcement action against those committing flagrant breaches of covid legislation – particularly those suspected to have organised the gathering.

‘Their actions have posed a significant risk to public health, and we will continue to study CCTV and bodycam to identify offenders and bring them to justice.’

In England, 316 people who tested positive for coronavirus were today confirmed to have died in the past 24 hours, while in Scotland there were 37 deaths and in Wales the toll rose by 28. 

In Northern Ireland, a further ten deaths were recorded. 

Meanwhile, it has been suggested quarantine times for contacts of Covid-19 cases could be halved to just a week or eliminated entirely under a pilot testing trial.

Crowds of protesters marched through Bournemouth on a dreary afternoon to oppose the government's Covid restrictions

Crowds of protesters marched through Bournemouth on a dreary afternoon to oppose the government's Covid restrictions

Crowds of protesters marched through Bournemouth on a dreary afternoon to oppose the government’s Covid restrictions

An anti-lockdown protester is seen in a Guy Fawkes mask as the march in Bournemouth heads through the town centre

An anti-lockdown protester is seen in a Guy Fawkes mask as the march in Bournemouth heads through the town centre

An anti-lockdown protester is seen in a Guy Fawkes mask as the march in Bournemouth heads through the town centre

Large numbers of protesters face police at a large anti lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

Large numbers of protesters face police at a large anti lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

Large numbers of protesters face police at a large anti lockdown protest in Liverpool today that saw hundreds march around the streets of the city

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters march through the streets of Bournemouth today amid demonstrations across the UK

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters march through the streets of Bournemouth today amid demonstrations across the UK

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters march through the streets of Bournemouth today amid demonstrations across the UK

Rapid tests which can give results in just 15 minutes will be handed to emergency workers in Liverpool next week, to ensure that if one tests positive the rest of their team will not have to self-isolate.

In today’s figures, patients who died of coronavirus in England were aged between 28 and 102. All except five, aged between 64 and 96, had known underlying health conditions and the deaths occured between June 3 and November 20.

Twenty-two other deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result. It means the total number of confirmed deaths reported in hospitals to 38,112, according to NHS England.  

The total number of deaths was the highest Saturday increase since May 2 when 469 deaths were reported.

Last Saturday, November 14, the death toll increased by 370. It means today’s figure is a rise of 5.7 per cent on last week. On the previous Saturday, November 7, there were 366 fatalities recorded.

It comes as rapid tests will be given to contacts of people infected with the virus who have been stuck at home for more than seven days, with those who get a negative result released from quarantine.

If the mass testing pilot proves successful, it could be rolled out across the whole of the UK. But this isn’t expected to get the green light until next year at the earliest.

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