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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Fourteen arrested during Bristol protest

Fourteen people were arrested today during an anti-lockdown protest in Bristol.

The Stand Up Bristol demonstration took place in spite of national restrictions prohibiting gatherings of more than two and prior warnings from police the event was unlawful.

Around 400 people gathered from 12pm on College Green before marching through the city centre.

Officers engaged with protestors as soon as they started gathering and continued to directed participants to leave the area.

A number of people were identified as leading the protest throughout the day and were subsequently arrested.

The majority of arrests were for breaches of the Coronavirus regulations, with one man also arrested after an officer was assaulted.

Chief Inspector Mark Runacres said: “While we understand the right to freedom of expression is an important part of our democracy, protests aren’t currently allowed under coronavirus regulations.

“And so unlike previous protests which have taken place during the pandemic, we couldn’t legally or morally facilitate today’s event.

“We warned the organisers repeatedly of the consequences should they press ahead with their plans, both in terms of the enforcement action we would take and the risk it presented in spreading COVID-19, but sadly they chose to ignore these.

“Knowing there was a possibility of the protest going ahead, a comprehensive policing plan was put in place and while officers initially looked to encourage people to leave the area it became clear enforcement action was necessary.”