The Metropolitan Police have called it “a busy weekend” of protests, with thousands of people hitting the streets to vocalise their opposition on a range of issues, ranging from inequality, Covid-19 restrictions and the framing of the climate crisis.
One of the first was the latest manifestation of the Freedom March as a large crowd of anti-lockdown protesters were filmed marching in the streets of the capital.
“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, ” said Iain McCausland from Devon.
Protestors were seen throwing tennis balls and flares at 10 Downing Street. A protestor, who wished to remain anonymous” said, “They have little messages on them. Most of them are not very nice”.
Alongside this march, The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, a collective of anti-government groups came out to oppose the Conservative government and their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. They were calling for change within society following the pandemic, which has seen already existing inequality become exacerbated.
Video captured featured speakers, such as former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said, “I’m here proud to stand alongside you, teachers and educational campaigners, who bring hope to our children,” praising their work throughout the pandemic.
Additionally, Extinction Rebellion will host their own demonstration on Sunday. Already, the police have made arrested in connection, which is centred around their opposition to media coverage surrounding the climate crisis.
As of yesterday, 12 people were arrested following a raid in a warehouse that housed some of the items the groups used to blockade some newspaper’s printing presses. They seized items “which could be used to cause criminal damage and obstructions”,
The Met are under pressure as the group intend on repeating their targeting of news outlets this weekend. They first did this in September 2020 when demonstrations hindered the publication of newspapers, such as The Sun, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. 77 people were charged in connection to the event.
“Four billionaires control the lion’s share of our news and it affords them a vast corrupting influence over democracy. Not only have they become kingmakers in our elections, but they are standing in the way of a national conversation about how we meet the vast challenges the climate and ecological crises present for everyday life.” said Extinction Rebellion said to the Guardian.
They believe government officials such as Priti Patel are enabling the police to crack down on their protests.
“This is what happens when you take peaceful protest action to the true centres of power in this country,”said Nuala Gathercole Lam, one of the group’s members members said to the paper.
In a statement yesterday, Scotland Yard said, they had “taken proactive action to prevent and reduce criminal disruption which we believe was intended for direction at media business locations over the weekend”.
“We believe certain protest groups are specifically intending to disrupt some business locations or potentially cause criminal damage to property. If this happens, we will take further action as required to prevent offences being committed or deal with anyone committing criminal acts,” said Chief Inspector Joe Sto
“Today, we took proactive action to prevent and reduce the likelihood of criminal activity during the course of the weekend. This action should further demonstrate our commitment and proactivity to preventing criminality.”
Additionally, on Sunday, there will be a Free to Dance Protest, where a group of people rallying for the government to do more for the nightlife and hospitality industry will march to BBC’s Broadcasting House. Expected to perform include Grooverider, Hannah Wants and Fabio.
In a post on Instagram, they said, “We are demanding that the Government lift all restrictions on the music & hospitality sector without any further delay.”
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