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Anti-vax protesters have thrown a flare into Downing Street in a march which has grown increasingly violent. Watch here:
Thousands of protesters objecting to vaccinations, vaccine passports, masks and Covid-19 restrictions have gathered in central London today (Saturday 18 November), and tensions appear to be rising.
Police confirmed that beer cans and a flare were thrown at officers in Whitehall in the vicinity of Downing Street.
BBC journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh tweeted: "Protesters have assembled outside Downing Street chanting that the PM should be arrested.
"Some started throwing bottles and cans at police officers protecting the gate, with one flare thrown in their direction going over the gate and inside Downing Street."
The Metropolitan Police said some officers sustained 'minor injuries' during 'scuffles' in Parliament Square at about 12.30pm, as they attempted to escort a police motorcyclist.
Later, at around 3pm, a group of protesters stopped outside a shop on Regents Street and began 'directing abuse' at people inside and egging the shop until police intervened.
No arrests have been made so far.
A Met Police spokesperson told LADbible: "Officers are deployed in central London to ensure a planned demonstration takes place safely and with minimal disruption to the general public.
"We are aware of videos shared online showing a minor scuffle in Parliament Square. At around 12:30hrs, protesters attempted to stop a group of officers who were escorting a police motorcyclist through crowds that had occupied a road. Some officers suffered minor injuries but order was quickly restored.
"Shortly before 15:00hrs, having made their way to Regent Street, a group of protesters stopped outside a shop and began directing abuse towards those inside. Eggs were thrown at windows but no injuries were reported. Officers quickly intervened and calm was restored without further incident.
"At around 16:00hrs a group of protesters stopped on Whitehall in the vicinity of Downing Street. Projectiles, including beer cans and a flare, were thrown at officers.
"Regrettably, officers elsewhere on Whitehall were also subjected to abuse and physical violence. A number of officers sustained injuries as a result.
"There is a significant police presence in the area as officers continue to respond to any outbreaks of disorder.
"At this stage, there have been no arrests."
The crowds appear to be in attendance for a range of reasons. Football pundit Gary Neville had urged people to protest following the controversy over an alleged Christmas party at Downing Street on this date last year, in breach of the Covid restrictions in place at the time.
Protest on Downing St anyone to stand up for Truth and Integrity in our democracy ! Against the Scoundrel and his disciples ?— Gary Neville (@GNev2) December 9, 2021
18th December seems the right date !!
Have no idea how to organise 🤦🏻
And while some protesters may have gathered in response to this scandal, others held placards warning of '5G danger' and other QAnon conspiracies.
The protest comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident in the capital over the surge in new cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
He said: "In the last 24 hours, we have had the largest number of new cases since the pandemic began, more than 26,000.
"Hospital admissions are going up but also staff absences are going up by massive levels, so I have taken the decision, along with our partners, to declare a major incident."
A major incident is defined as a situation that is 'beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security'.
Khan continued: "The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 on the rise again.
"We are already feeling the impact across the capital and while we are still learning about this variant, it’s right that London’s key agencies work closely together to minimise the impact on our city, including helping to protect the vital vaccination programme."
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