Northumbria Police break up protest at shopping centre in Newcastle city centre amid lockdown


Dozens of police break up protest at shopping centre in Newcastle city centre on first day of lockdown

  • Police, three on horses, swooped on area known as ‘hippie green’, Eldon Square
  • One man shouted ‘bunch of bullies’ as the demonstration was cut short by police
  • About 50 people had descended for a rally against alleged child abuse in the city
  • One onlooker said Thursday: ‘I have never seen so many police officers in my life’

Dozens of police have broken up a protest at a shopping centre in Newcastle on the first day of lockdown.

Officers, three on horses, swooped on an area known as ‘hippie green’ at Eldon Square on Thursday afternoon.

About 50 people had descended on the spot for a rally against alleged child abuse in the city.

Officers, three on horses, swooped on an area known as ‘hippie green’ at Eldon Square on Thursday afternoon

About 50 people had descended on the spot for a rally against alleged child abuse in the city

About 50 people had descended on the spot for a rally against alleged child abuse in the city

One man shouted ‘bunch of bullies’ as the demonstration was cut short, just hours after the new coronavirus prevention rules came into force.

An onlooker said: ‘I have never seen so many police officers in my life. I was expecting the streets to be quiet today, but it’s busier than ever.’

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: ‘We were made aware of a planned protest in Newcastle city centre earlier today.

One man shouted 'bunch of bullies' as the demonstration was cut short, just hours after the new coronavirus prevention rules came into force

One man shouted ‘bunch of bullies’ as the demonstration was cut short, just hours after the new coronavirus prevention rules came into force

An onlooker said: 'I have never seen so many police officers in my life. I was expecting the streets to be quiet today, but it's busier than ever'

An onlooker said: ‘I have never seen so many police officers in my life. I was expecting the streets to be quiet today, but it’s busier than ever’

‘Under the current Coronavirus legislation, protests are not exempt from the restrictions that have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

‘Individuals are allowed to gather in groups of two people and some members of this particular group of protesters were adhering to those rules.

‘However, when those smaller groups began to congregate more closely officers asked the group to disperse and the vast majority did so voluntarily.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: 'We were made aware of a planned protest in Newcastle city centre earlier today'

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: ‘We were made aware of a planned protest in Newcastle city centre earlier today’

‘One individual refused to comply with police and so was issued with a dispersal notice and summonsed to court.

‘The safety of everyone, including those participating in protests, other members of the public and our officers will always be our upmost priority, and we will have a proportionate policing response in place for any events of this nature.’

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