Eight police officers injured in large London anti-lockdown protest

A Met Police officer walks amongst protestors during a "Unite For Freedom" anti-lockdown demonstration held to protest against the use of vaccine passports. (Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Eight police officers were injured while trying to police an anti-lockdown protest in London on the evening of April 24.

Attempting to disperse crowds in Hyde Park yesterday evening, the Met police said “missiles including bottles were thrown in small pockets of disorder”, with two officers “taken to hospital” though not seriously injured. Five people were arrested for offences including assault on police and are now in custody.

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The protest, attended by an estimated 10,000 people, was a demonstration against coronavirus measures including masks and social distancing. A number of demonstrators held signs espousing unproven conspiracy theories about the virus.

After the police scuffles in Hyde Park, photographs posted on social media showed a female police officer bleeding from a cut to her head while another suffered a similar wound on his forehead.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation – which represents thousands of rank-and-file Scotland Yard officers – said: “We can assure everyone that we shall be raising the scenes we witnessed in Hyde Park yesterday with senior management in the Metropolitan Police with utmost urgency.

The protest, which also took place on Oxford Street, came almost two weeks after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased.

Mr Marsh added: “Peaceful protest may well be the cornerstone of democracy – and police officers have a role in facilitating that – but the scenes we saw in Hyde Park yesterday of a thin blue line of brave and sadly bloodied police officers coming under attack from thugs were anything but peaceful.

“Police officers are human beings who go out every day to keep people safe.

“Many people seem to have forgotten that right now but we will keep reminding them”.

Mr Marsh pointed out the country is still in the middle of a pandemic, adding “our unvaccinated police officers deserve greater protection”.

Additional reporting by PA