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Anti lockdown protesters are staging yet another protest in London’s Trafalgar Square, as the capital faces new restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The "We Do Not Consent" rally's drawn some 15,000 protesters, among them notorious conspiracy theorists David Icke and Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The official Met Police account tweeted: "Crowds are growing in #TrafalgarSquare. Many people are not maintaining social distancing, a term of the risk assessment submitted by event organisers.
"Our priority is safety and officers are speaking with those gathered and reminding them of the dangers of the virus."
A similar event last weekend turned violent, with 15 police officers injured in scuffles with protesters. 32 people were arrested for various public order offences.
This week the Daily Mail reports one man has been detained after police spotted he was carrying a home-made "riot shield".
The protesters have been carrying banners describing the pandemic – which has killed close to a million people worldwide – as a "hoax" and a "scam".
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Others are expressing hostility to any potential vaccine.
An earlier protest, on August 29, saw banners promoting offbeat conspiracy theories such as QAnon, which maintains the world is controlled by Satan-worshipping paedophiles based in Hollywood.
Another man was proudly waving the flag of Oswald Moseley's British Union of Fascists.
Commander Ade Adelekan from the Metropolitan Police has said that while he understands that protesters feel "great frustration" at the new restrictions, a gathering of this size endangers the health of protesters and their families at risk.
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He said: "I know there is great frustration to these regulations but they have been designed to keep everyone safe from what is a lethal virus.
"By flagrantly gathering in large numbers and ignoring social distancing, you are putting your health and the health of your loved ones at risk."
Current regulations exempt legitimate protests from the "rule of six," but organisers are obliged to submit a risk assessment and comply with social distancing.
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Commander Adelekan added: "Last weekend it was highly disappointing to see that a small minority of demonstrators targeted officers with violence.
"Some 15 officers were injured during this protest, with more than 32 arrests being made during the course of the day.
"I will not tolerate a repeat of this behaviour this weekend and officers will respond quickly to any scenes of violence."
Meanwhile, London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for mixing between households to be banned within days.
He says the city is "at a very worrying tipping point.
"We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions and patients in intensive care units."
A government source told The Times that if infection rates did not stop rising "household mixing would be the next thing you go to. London might be two or three weeks behind the north. But next week we will look at the data again".
Another event billed as a "People’s network and family picnic," is also reportedly being organised by the same activists for Sunday in Hyde Park.
- MET Police
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