Tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters march on London in biggest demo yet – with signs demanding ‘arrest Matt Hancock’ after he was caught cheating while preaching Covid rules to the rest of UK
- Tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marched in central London today and called for ‘freedom’
- They called for freedom and an end to Covid-19 lockdown regulations as they marched down Oxford Street
- Protesters held placards demanding police ‘arrest Matt Hancock’ after he was caught breaching Covid rules
Tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marched in central London today calling for freedom and an end to Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
Anti-lockdown protesters were seen marching along Oxford Street in central London on Saturday as they called for the end to all Covid regulations after Freedom Day was delayed from June 21.
As well as demanding the end to Covid lockdown rules, protesters also brandished placards that demanded police ‘arrest Matt Hancock’ after he was caught breaching Covid safety regulations by kissing his married aide, while asking the rest of the country to follow the strict restrictions.
The health secretary, 42, has been accused of hypocrisy over images and a subsequent video clip showing the Health Secretary kissing his married aide Gina Coladangelo at the Department for Health, despite championing draconian restrictions on ordinary citizens.
The crowds of protesters marched through Oxford Street, Regent Street, Hyde Park and Northumberland Avenue as they held placards reading ‘freedom is not for trade’, ‘no to Covid vaccine’ and ‘no to Covid passport’.
Crowds were seen marching along Oxford Street in central London, many of whom were not wearing face masks, as they called for ‘freedom’ from Covid regulations
Tens of thousands of anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters were seen marching along Oxford Street in central London on Saturday after Freedom Day was delayed from June 21
The crowds of protesters marched down Oxford Street (pictured), Regent Street and Northumberland Avenue as they held placards reading ‘freedom is not for trade’, ‘no to Covid vaccine’ and ‘no to Covid passport’
Drums, whistling and chanting could be heard for some distance around, with people young and old taking part.
One speaker stood on a plinth near Embankment Station and told crowds: ‘We are here to take our freedom back.’
Participant Iain McCausland travelled to London from Devon to attend the rally as he said the Covid lockdown has come at the cost of ‘liberty’.
He said: ‘The main reason I’m here is because I feel this lockdown has come at the cost of our liberty and rights.
‘Our freedom to assemble, our freedom to travel, and work. I’m really quite angry with the Government, so are everyone here.’
Photographs showed police officers walking through the crowds of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters as they stopped to gather in Hyde Park.
As well as demanding the end to Covid lockdown rules, protesters also brandished placards that demanded police ‘arrest Matt Hancock ‘ after he was caught breaching Covid safety regulations by kissing his married aide
Drums, whistling and chanting could be heard for some distance around, with people young and old taking part. Pictured: Protesters march down Regent Street during anti-lockdown protest on Saturday
MailOnline has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment.
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. He warned the nation should brace for a ‘rough winter’ whilst visiting a laboratory in Hertfordshire earlier this week.
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’.
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’.
Meanwhile, the anti-lockdown protesters also called for police to ‘arrest’ Matt Hancock after he was caught breaching Covid safety regulations by kissing his married aide.
Boris Johnson is being urged to sack Mr Hancock amid a tidal wave of hypocrisy allegations over images and a subsequent video clip showing the Health Secretary kissing his married aide Gina Coladangelo at the Department for Health.
Despite championing draconian restrictions on ordinary citizens, he kissed and embraced Mrs Coladangelo on May 6 – eleven days before the ban on hugging was lifted. Both are married with three children.
The Health Secretary’s wife of 15 years Martha Hancock today glanced at reporters as she left the couple’s London home wearing dark sunglasses, as Whitehall rumours claim she threw her husband – who she met at university – out of the family home.
A Savanta ComRes snap poll found the public wanted Mr Hancock to quit by a margin of 58 to 25. A separate YouGov survey had the margin at 49 to 25.
Mr Hancock had put Mrs Coladangelo, a friend from university, on the public payroll only last year. He made no comment on claims he was having an affair with the 43-year-old in his apology yesterday, but added: ‘I have let people down and am very sorry.’
Astonishingly, however, he refused to resign and, after crisis talks in No 10, the Prime Minister personally backed him to stay on and said he ‘considered the matter closed’.
Last night, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick backed the PM’s stance, adding that the public should allow Hancock to ‘get on with the job’.
He told BBC Radio’s 4 Any Questions: ‘There’s a task to be done, Matt is on the job doing that, and I think we should allow him to get on with the job.’
It comes after three police officers were injured after an anti-lockdown protest turned violent earlier this week and cops were forced to make 14 arrests during demonstrations.
Anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in central London on Monday as they demonstrate against the delay of Freedom Day by blocking roads and hugging strangers in defiance of Covid rules.
Earlier this week, police confirmed they arrested 14 people who were ‘obstructing’ roads and being ‘hostile to officers’ as they attempted to contain a large group of Covid sceptics in Parliament Square and on Whitehall – on what would have been the day social distancing measures were lifted across the UK.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘We’ve made fourteen arrests while policing a demonstration in Westminster today. Three police officers were injured, thankfully their injuries are not serious.
Anti-lockdown protesters brandished a banner that deemed Covid the ‘Boris variant’ as they took part in an anti-lockdown protest in Hyde Park
One speaker stood on a plinth near Embankment Station and told crowds: ‘We are here to take our freedom back’. Pictured: Protesters marching down Regent Street on Saturday
Protesters match down Regent Street, during an anti-lockdown protest in London
‘Officers worked hard to minimise disruption to the Westminster community and to keep traffic and public transport moving.
‘Despite this, several people within the demonstration obstructed roads or became hostile to officers. Our operation will continue into the evening.’
Protesters offering ‘free hugs’ and 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’.
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