Anti-lockdown activists clash with police in Parliament Square over ‘Freedom Day’ delay


Maskless anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters have clashed with police after returning to central London to demonstrate by blocking roads and hugging strangers in defiance of covid rules.

Police were seen attempting to contain a large group of covid sceptics in Parliament Square, as some protestors offered ‘free hugs’ to others without masks.

Protestors demanding an end to all Covid restrictions held signs reading ‘your obedience is prolonging this nightmare’ and ‘our kids aren’t lab rats’ as they marched through the streets.

Others held placards reading ‘lockdown is a crime against humanity’, ‘pro liberty’, and ‘no more lockdowns’.   

Loud horns blown by the protestors were seen to spook a group of half-a-dozen police horses who had been drafted in to help control the crowd in Parliament Square.

The protest comes as Boris Johnson seemed to dismiss the prospect of easing the remaining coronavirus rules early, as he refused to rule out future lockdowns and warned the nation should brace for a ‘rough winter’ whilst visiting a laboratory in Hertfordshire today.

The Prime Minister has delayed ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks to July 19 but a two week review will take place on July 5 to see if the return to normal can be moved forward.

Mr Johnson said ‘Delta’ variant cases, hospitalisations and admissions to intensive care are still rising and the country must therefore be ‘cautious’.

Protestors demanding an end to all Covid restrictions held signs reading ‘your obedience is prolonging this nightmare’ and ‘our kids aren’t lab rats’ as they marched through the streets surrounding Parliament Square, London

But he insisted it is ‘looking good’ for the rules to be lifted at the ‘terminus point’ of July 19 as he said the ‘vaccination rollout is going gangbusters’.

However, Mr Johnson declined to rule out reimposing draconian curbs later in the year as he warned ‘some new horror’ could emerge which ‘we simply haven’t budgeted for’. 

Regarding the ongoing protest Metropolitan Police said in a statement: ‘We are aware of a demonstration in Parliament Square and along Whitehall, #Westminster.

‘A policing plan is in place throughout the day. Officers, including units from our Mounted Branch, are on scene and are engaging with those taking part in this demonstration.’

Photos showed police attempting to contain a large group of covid sceptics in Parliament Square, as some protestor offered 'free hugs' to others without masks

Photos showed police attempting to contain a large group of covid sceptics in Parliament Square, as some protestor offered ‘free hugs’ to others without masks

Anti-lockdown protesters clash with police during a demonstration in Parliament Square Anti-lockdown protest, London

Anti-lockdown protesters clash with police during a demonstration in Parliament Square Anti-lockdown protest, London

One protester holds an umbrella reading 'No vaxx passports' as groups gather in close proximity to protest covid restrictions

One protester holds an umbrella reading ‘No vaxx passports’ as groups gather in close proximity to protest covid restrictions

Asked whether he will bring forward ‘freedom day’, Mr Johnson said today: ‘As I say, the vaccination rollout is going gangbusters and loads of people are coming forward now for their second jabs.

‘Please come forward, get your second jab, and it is great that today we will have done all of JCVI one to nine, so everybody over 50 will have been offered two jabs as of today plus all care workers, all the vulnerable groups, huge numbers of people.

‘I think almost 60 per cent of adults in this country have now had or been offered two jabs so we are one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.

‘But look at the numbers of delta, the “Delta” variant, it is sadly going up still, it is going up by about 30 per cent a week in cases, hospitalisations up by roughly the same amount and so sadly ICU admissions into intensive care.

‘So we have got to be cautious but we will be following the data the whole time.’

Mr Johnson said it is still ‘looking good’ for the July 19 date amid fears among some Tory MPs that the PM could again delay the lifting of the remaining curbs.

A police man comes face to face with a maskless protestor at the Parliament Square anti-lockdown protest

A police man comes face to face with a maskless protestor at the Parliament Square anti-lockdown protest

Police push back a protestor as they form a line face to face with the maskless covid sceptics

Police push back a protestor as they form a line face to face with the maskless covid sceptics

Protestors demanding an end to all Covid restrictions held signs reading 'your obedience is prolonging this nightmare' and 'our kids aren't lab rats' as they marched through the streets

Protestors demanding an end to all Covid restrictions held signs reading ‘your obedience is prolonging this nightmare’ and ‘our kids aren’t lab rats’ as they marched through the streets

There was no social distancing as protestors got close to police whilst blowing whistles at Parliament Square, London

There was no social distancing as protestors got close to police whilst blowing whistles at Parliament Square, London

Protestors are seen hugging as police try to contain the crowds - others linked arms to form a barricade

Protestors are seen hugging as police try to contain the crowds – others linked arms to form a barricade 

Others held placards reading 'lockdown is a crime against humanity', 'pro liberty', and 'no more lockdowns'

Others held placards reading ‘lockdown is a crime against humanity’, ‘pro liberty’, and ‘no more lockdowns’

The protest comes as Boris Johnson today poured cold water on the prospect of easing the remaining coronavirus rules early as he refused to rule out future lockdowns and warned the nation should brace for a 'rough winter'

The protest comes as Boris Johnson today poured cold water on the prospect of easing the remaining coronavirus rules early as he refused to rule out future lockdowns and warned the nation should brace for a ‘rough winter’

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