Hordes of protesters take to London amid bumper weekend of demonstrations

Credit: PA

Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of central London on Saturday as a bumper weekend of demonstrations kicked off.

Protesters threw tennis balls at Parliament and Downing Street to demonstrate against the continuation of Covid restrictions, some bearing protest messages.

Chanting and whistling crowds carrying placards marched through the city centre towards Parliament Square on Saturday.

Protesters let off flares outside Downing Street. Credit: PA

Protesters let off flares and also threw tennis balls outside Downing Street, with some shouting “shame on you” and pointing towards Number 10, followed by booing.Asked why protesters were throwing tennis balls, one man, who did not wish to be named, said: “They have little messages on them. Most of them are not very nice”.

Tennis balls were thrown by protesters towards Downing Street. Credit: PA

Protesters, many not wearing masks, carried placards bearing anti-vaccine and anti-restrictions messages, while others waved flags.In Hyde Park, officers were pictured trying to remove from police vans windows adhesive stickers carrying anti-vaccine messages.

Iain McCausland, who travelled to London from Devon, 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".

Protesters carried signs against the Covid vaccine. Credit: PA

A man who only gave his name as Gareth, 29, from Walthamstow, north-east London, said: “I’m on the march because I feel that the government is over-reaching and its response to a threat has been far beyond what’s necessary”.

Kayleigh Brooke, 29, from Manchester, said she has been camped out for four weeks on Clapham Common in protest against the vaccine rollout.

Ms Brooke said she is taking part in the march because of her concerns around children getting the jab.

“We want the Coronavirus Act 2020 gone, and we will keep on protesting until that happens”.

The protests take place after the UK recorded more than 18,000 cases in the past 24 hours - the highest number since 5 February.

Other gatherings and marches are also taking place in central London over the weekend.

The People’s Assembly had promoted a national demonstration against the Government, which included criticism of a range of issues including the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Extinction Rebellion are also protesting in London over a lack of climate action on the part of the government.

Images and videos shared on social media by Extinction Rebellion showed people marching through London and speeches in Parliament Square, including from former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Causes being represented in other Twitter users’ photos on Saturday included support for Palestinians and the rights of trans people.

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 12 people as part of a crackdown on demonstrators ahead of the weekend and warned it had “zero tolerance for disorder or criminality”.

Raids at three locations in the capital saw the seizing of items including bamboo structures, lock-on equipment and other items “which could be used to cause criminal damage and obstructions”.

Extinction Rebellion reported on its website that four members were arrested at one of its warehouses in east London.

It is claimed the women had been “creating art” for the Free the Press march on Sunday in Parliament Square.