Police arrest anti-lockdown protestors chanting ‘freedom’ as clashes break out

Police have arrested 15 people at anti-lockdown protests in Liverpool on offences including public order and breaches of coronavirus legislation.

Over 200 protestors gathered in Liverpool’s city centre from around 1pm on November 21, forcing police to issue a dispersal order.

The gathering is illegal as it is in breach of Covid lockdown rules, which have been in place across England since November 2.

Merseyside Police were in attendance at the event and confirmed in a statement the force had arrested "15 people so far," LiverpoolEcho reports.

Protestors have subjected officers to "mindless abuse," the force said as they thanked emergency staff for "doing all they can to help protect" the public.

Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine issued a statement about the dispersal, and branded some protestors as "selfish individuals".

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Mr Waine said: "The vast majority of people in Merseyside have made huge sacrifices since March, missing weddings, funerals and family celebrations in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.

"We have seen infection rates driven down in Merseyside thanks to the commitment of so many people, and already more than 140,000 have taken part in a mass testing pilot here in Merseyside to help the national effort to protect life and get back to normality. They are a credit to this county.

"So it will be incredibly frustrating for all those people to see that a minority of selfish individuals chose to flout laws brought in to protect the lives of people across Merseyside, putting our communities and themselves at risk.

"More than 50,000 people have died with coronavirus in the UK and there is a responsibility on us all to do everything within our power to prevent more."

He said: "We all want to get back to normality as soon as possible, but the actions of those people who gathered in Liverpool today risk delaying that return and prolonging the suffering of so many."

Mr Waine also said the protest "posed a significant risk to public health" and said officers had been equipped with body cam footage to "identify offenders".

Superintendent Waine said: "Their actions have posed a significant risk to public health, and we will continue to study CCTV and bodycam to identify offenders and bring them to justice.

"We have arrested 15 people so far and dispersed many more. Our officers – deployed to encourage people to do the right thing and to carry our enforcement to protect the public – have been subjected to mindless abuse from many of those gathered, but continued to carry out their duties with complete professionalism.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank the public, our partners, NHS staff, emergency services and our own frontline officers, who are doing all they can to help protect us all."

He added: "I know the vast majority of the public will support us as we continue to take action against those who choose to deliberately break the law."

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