By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor and Megan Evans, News Subeditor
Avon & Somerset Police have so far confirmed the removal and arrest of 14 protesters failing ‘to comply with the directions of officers’ during an anti-lockdown demonstration.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protestors marched in Bristol at midday today, with footage from the protest showing a heavy police presence in the city centre.
Protestors from the group Stand Up Bristol met to march against the Government-imposed national lockdown.
A crowd assembled at College Green at midday, with protestors then marching through areas of Harbourside and the city centre.
Protestors carrying placards saying ‘fear is the current of control’ and ‘freedom over fear’ could be heard chanting ‘we are the people, we are the power, we are the ninety nine percent’.
Also in attendance was Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose anti-lockdown rhetoric has previously seen him fined £10,000 for his involvement in other anti-lockdown protests.
Piers Corbyn is believed to have been arrested shortly after addressing the crowd on College Green today.
The group marched on with their protest despite warnings issued to them by Avon & Somerset Police.
Police last week instructed the group with firm warnings that they would be breaking the law and told the organiser of the protest that he could be fined £10,000 for breaching coronavirus regulations.
Defying police warnings and pressing ahead with their march, the group have claimed the protest to be a ‘peaceful march and rally’.
Police have said that one of the arrests was made after a police officer was assaulted during the march.
Speaking on the protest Chief Inspector of A & S Police, Mark Runacres said: ‘The Government has passed legislation for a reason which is to prevent further loss of life and we have a legal and moral duty to uphold these laws.
‘We will not stand by and allow a small minority to endanger the health of the vast majority who have sacrificed so much to protect others.’
Around 200 protestors are now marching through Bristol city centre.— Avon and Somerset Police (@ASPolice) November 14, 2020
This gathering is unlawful and is putting others at risk.
Arrests have been made as people have failed to comply with the directions of officers.
One arrest has also been made after an officer was assaulted.
The anti-lockdown organisation, Stand Up, has branches across the country and similar protests are reported to be taking place today in Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth.
Under Covid-19 regulations introduced in August, organisers of unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people can face £10,000 fines, while anyone caught participating in a gathering of more than 30 people may face fines of £200.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: ‘I understand that people have different views about the Government restrictions, but there are other ways to make your voices heard rather than holding a demonstration and increasing the public health risk posed by coronavirus.’
Featured Image: Epigram / Georgiana Scott
Did you see the anti-lockdown protest in Bristol today?