Riot police surrounded an anti-lockdown camp while bailiffs moved in to remove protesters at Shepherd’s Bush Green on Thursday morning.
“Lovedown camp” was made up of around 20 tents, with activists protesting England’s lockdown measures, mask wearing, Covid tests and vaccinations.
The camp was first set up at the end of May following anti-lockdown protests but was reduced in size earlier this week when bailiffs attended the green after the High Court approved a possession order by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Around 10am Thursday, bailiffs from the National Eviction Team told protesters that they had 30 minutes to leave the camp or risk being arrested. Dozens of police vans and of officers with riot gear also attended the green this morning.
The protesters have been heard chanting “United we stand, together we rise” and singing “Kumbaya” while banging pots and pans and bongos.
When they moved in, bailiffs were filmed throwing camp chairs and gazebos aside; they were also filmed dragging one man out of his tent leading to an angry altercation.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “On Thursday 17 June officers attended Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 to support the National Eviction Team as they carry out an eviction following the receipt of a possession order from the High Court by the Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
“Officers were there in order to prevent a breach of the peace, assist with any obstruction issues and deal with any criminal matters.”
In response to aggravated behaviour that was witnessed in response to the removal of the camp, Metropolitan Police in Hammersmith and Fulham tweeted that a dispersal order has been implemented to reduce the likelihood of harassment and anti-social behaviour in the area.
Earlier this week, Stephen Cowan, the Hammersmith and Fulham council leader wrote in the authority’s weekly newsletter that the anti-lockdown protesters at Shepherd’s Bush Green were “a public health risk” adding that they had been “harassing residents”.
“I never want to give any publicity to anti-vaxxers, but those currently camping out on Shepherd’s Bush Green handing out dangerously misleading leaflets, and in some cases harassing residents, are a public health risk,” he wrote.
MyLondon reported that 10 arrests were made as the camp was cleared, and as of 2pm Shepherd’s Bush Green had been closed off so that it can be cleaned, as it was covered in rubbish.