Police officers call for ban on protests during Covid-19 threat

Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance Credit: PA

The organisation that represents rank-and-file police officers in England and Wales has called on the Home Secretary to ban all protests while the threat of Covid-19 remains.

Police Federation chairman John Apter said Priti Patel must be “unequivocal” in stating that large gatherings are not allowed.

It comes after a second weekend of violent clashes in the capital as far-right protesters took over areas near the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square on Saturday in response to anti-racism demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance Credit: PA

Protesters could already face sanctions under coronavirus laws, which currently ban groups of more than six people, with exceptions, from gathering.> A total of 23 officers were injured in London as police were pelted with missiles, smoke grenades, glass bottles and flares on Saturday.> The protest was condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “racist thuggery” and described as “mindless hooliganism” by police.> Some 113 people were arrested, including 28-year-old Andrew Banks, from Stansted, Essex, who is who is due to appear in court on Monday charged with outraging public decency.