LONDON, April 4 (Xinhua) — London police said Sunday that 26 protesters were arrested and 10 officers left with minor injuries after police and protesters clashed in central London on Saturday.
Thousands of people descended on the British capital as part of various demonstrations on Saturday against the British government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, or the new crime bill.
Separate protests were held by “Kill the Bill”, “Extinction Rebellion”, and anti-lockdown rebels supported by Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the London-based Evening Standard newspaper reported Sunday.
Thousands turned up for the “Kill the Bill” protest alone, marching from Hyde Park to Westminster. The protesters walked past Buckingham Palace and down to Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament.
The latest demonstrations came after several protests against the British government’s new crime bill turned violent last month in Bristol, a populous city in southwestern England.
It is understood that the bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed to be too noisy or a nuisance. Those convicted under the bill could face a fine or jail.
COVID-19 regulations have since been relaxed and protests are now lawful in England and Wales. However, protest organizers must submit a risk assessment and take steps to limit the potential transmission of coronavirus, according to The Guardian newspaper.
The coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, in England is between 0.8 and one, according to the latest government figures.
This is compared to a figure of between 0.7 and 0.9 for the whole of Britain last week.
The latest government figures showed that more than 31.4 million people have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Britain.
From April 12, non-essential retail, as well as restaurants and pubs, if serving people outdoors, will be allowed to reopen in England.
On Feb. 22, Johnson announced his roadmap exiting the lockdown, the third of its kind since the start of the pandemic. The four-step plan is expected to see all legal restrictions in England being removed by mid-June.
Experts have warned Britain is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants and the third wave of pandemic in the European continent.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem