London Police Arrest 17 at Hyde Park Anti-Lockdown Rally

January 2, 2021 Updated: January 3, 2021

UK police arrested 17 anti-lockdown protesters on Saturday in London’s Hyde Park on suspicion of breaching CCP virus restrictions.

Officers arrested four people who had gathered in Hyde Park near Marble Arch at around 1 p.m. local time under Health Protection Regulations, the Metropolitan Police said on Twitter.

At 2.35 p.m., the police reported that officers were continuing to “engage with groups of people” who had gathered in the area, and that “a number of people have been arrested under Health Protection Regulations and taken into custody.”

Officers urged those in the area “to leave immediately,” the force said.

At 4.40 p.m., the police said that the majority of protesters had left Hyde Park, but 17 people had been arrested on suspicion of breaching CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus rules.

London was put under “tier four”, the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in England, on Dec. 20, because it was one of the regions most affected by a new variant of the CCP virus, which the government said was spreading faster than the old variant.

Under tier four rules, which are broadly equivalent to the national lockdown in England in November, people must stay at home except for limited exemptions, and individuals can only meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space.

In the run-up to the new year, the government ran a public information campaign, urging people to stay at home on New Year’s Eve.

The Metropolitan Police said on New Year’s Day that officers attended calls to 58 unlicensed music events and parties in breach of tier four rules across London overnight.

The police issued fixed penalty fines to 217 people, and five people were reported for consideration of a possible £10,000 ($13,676) fine for organising large gatherings.

In addition, four people were arrested on New Year’s Eve for gathering in central London.

Commander Paul Brogden said: “We are still dealing with the stark reality of fighting a deadly virus. I urge Londoners to continue to keep themselves and their families safe by staying at home.”

Lily Zhou contributed to this report.