More than 100 people arrested at London protest against lockdown

Police have arrested 104 anti-lockdown protesters as hundreds of people marched through the streets of central London on the day tougher coronavirus rules came into force in England.

Officers urged demonstrators to go home as they took to the streets near Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening, warning those who had gathered that they were breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Protesters, very few of whom were wearing face coverings, began to walk up the Strand soon after 6pm, chanting "freedom" and "no more lockdown".

Trailed by a large number of officers from both the City of London and Metropolitan Police forces, protesters were repeatedly told to go home, with one officer shouting at a group: "You are breaking the law."

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London anti-lockdown protest
A woman is detained by police from 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", gather in Trafalgar Square in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police detain a protester during the Million Mask March anti-establishment protest at Trafalgar Square in central London, on the first day of a four-week national lockdown for England, Thursday Nov. 5, 2020. The four-week national lockdown is imposed in response to increasing coronavirus numbers. (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)
A man bleeds from his head after being apprehended by police at 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", gathers in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Police surround a man dressed a father Christmas who is taking part in 'The Million Mask March', on during the annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Police search a man they have detained at 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", gather in Trafalgar Square in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police move members of the 'The Million Mask March', on during the annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", gather in Trafalgar Square in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Police officers wearing face masks against the coronavirus patrol 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Police make an arrest at 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A participant in 'The Million Mask March', an annual event described as a march "against austerity, the infringement of rights, war crimes, corrupt politicians and to reinstate liberty", gathers in central London, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The march was taking place on the same day national lockdown rules come into force as Britain joined large swathes of Europe in a coronavirus lockdown designed to save its health care system from being overwhelmed. Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items closed on Thursday until at least Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/05: Police officers speak to a protester wearing an anonymous mask at Trafalgar Square during the demonstration. The Expect Us movement partakes in their annual Million Mask March. The Anonymous movement shows solidarity for a society which is marginalised by the political elite and associated corporations. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/05: Protesters are seen running as the MET police charge in an attempt to disperse the march. The Expect Us movement partakes in their annual Million Mask March. The Anonymous movement shows solidarity for a society which is marginalised by the political elite and associated corporations. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/05: A woman is detained by the police as protesters gather at Trafalgar Square during the demonstration. The Expect Us movement partakes in their annual Million Mask March. The Anonymous movement shows solidarity for a society which is marginalised by the political elite and associated corporations. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/05: A protester holds placards during the demonstration. The Expect Us movement partakes in their annual Million Mask March. The Anonymous movement shows solidarity for a society which is marginalised by the political elite and associated corporations. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 05, 2020: Police officers struggle to arrest a man during the annual 'Million Mask March' coinciding with the first day of coronavirus lockdown, on November 5, 2020 in London, England. The event is a part of a global anti-establishment and anti-capitalist protest against issues such as surveillance, politics and economics.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, as protestors from the Million Mask March and anti lockdown protesters demonstrate, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain November 5, 2020. (Photo by Maciek Musialek/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 05, 2020: Heavy police presence during the annual 'Million Mask March' coinciding with the first day of coronavirus lockdown, on November 5, 2020 in London, England. The event is a part of a global anti-establishment and anti-capitalist protest against issues such as surveillance, politics and economics.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/11/05: A protester wearing an anonymous mask holds a placard during the demonstration. The Expect Us movement partakes in their annual Million Mask March. The Anonymous movement shows solidarity for a society which is marginalised by the political elite and associated corporations. (Photo by Andy Barton/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Police officers surround demonstrators in Oxford Street during the annual 'Million Mask March' coinciding with the first day of coronavirus lockdown, on November 5, 2020 in London, England. The event is a part of a global anti-establishment and anti-capitalist protest against issues such as surveillance, politics and economics. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Demonstrator argues with the police during the annual 'Million Mask March' coinciding with the first day of coronavirus lockdown, on November 5, 2020 in London, England. The event is a part of a global anti-establishment and anti-capitalist protest against issues such as surveillance, politics and economics. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: A woman is seen using a face covering as a mask on November 5, 2020 in London, England. Decentralised, Leaderless, Internet Activist Group Anonymous hold a million mask protest in London every year on November 5th, the anniversary of Guy Fawkes attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament. This year their motive is human rights abuses, the supposed rise of the surveillance state and their perceived loss of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 5: A man is detained near Soho during an Anonymous protest on November 5, 2020 in London, England. Decentralised, Leaderless, Internet Activist Group Anonymous hold a million mask protest in London every year during an Anonymous protest on November 5th, the anniversary of Guy Fawkes attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament. This year their motive is human rights abuses, the supposed rise of the surveillance state and their perceived loss of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 5: Protestors argue with Police near Piccadilly Circus during an Anonymous protest on November 5, 2020 in London, England. Decentralised, Leaderless, Internet Activist Group Anonymous hold a million mask protest in London every year on November 5th, the anniversary of Guy Fawkes attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament. This year their motive is human rights abuses, the supposed rise of the surveillance state and their perceived loss of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 5: A woman is detained near Soho during an Anonymous protest on November 5, 2020 in London, England. Decentralised, Leaderless, Internet Activist Group Anonymous hold a million mask protest in London every year during an Anonymous protest on November 5th, the anniversary of Guy Fawkes attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament. This year their motive is human rights abuses, the supposed rise of the surveillance state and their perceived loss of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
Police detain a protester during the Million Mask March anti-establishment protest at Trafalgar Square in London, on the first day of a four week national lockdown for England. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 05: Piers Corbyn (C), elder brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, takes part in a protest against the 2nd national lockdown, which was announced to impose to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after it began in central London, United Kingdom on November 05, 2020. Police arrested some protesters. (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Police detain a protester during the Million Mask March anti-establishment protest at Trafalgar Square in London, on the first day of a four week national lockdown for England. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: A protester smiles as he is apprehended by police during the Million Mask Protest held by Anonymous on November 5, 2020 in London, England. Decentralised, Leaderless, Internet Activist Group Anonymous hold a million mask protest in London every year on November 5th, the anniversary of Guy Fawkes attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament. This year their motive is human rights abuses, the supposed rise of the surveillance state and their perceived loss of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Police officers during the Million Mask March anti-establishment protest at Trafalgar Square in London, on the first day of a four week national lockdown for England. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
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The Met said in a statement the majority of arrests were for breaches of the new regulations and the number of arrests was expected to increase as the operation continued through the night.

Commander Jane Connors, who is leading the operation, said the force's main priority had been to "keep Londoners safe".

"We are eight months into this national pandemic and frankly there can be no excuse for people to dangerously breach regulations which are there to prevent further spread of coronavirus," she said.

"Tonight, a crowd of people chose to ignore the new regulations, to behave irresponsibly and meet in a dangerous manner. More than 100 of these people have now been arrested and will have to face the consequences of their actions."

Four protesters, one of whom was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, were arrested by police officers near the gates of Charing Cross Station.

Soon after 7pm, a smaller demonstration gathered near Primark on Oxford Street, where a number of protesters were grouped in by two lines of officers.

Police detain a protester
Police detain a protester (Aaron Chown/PA)

Those clustered in by police chanted "stand up" while officers encouraged protesters gathered nearby to go home.

"You need to leave, you are breaching coronavirus restrictions," one officer told demonstrators.

The Metropolitan Police said that protesters were ignoring directions from officers and warned enforcement action would be taken against those who did not disperse.

Police officers during the march
Police officers during the march (Aaron Chown/PA)

"This gathering is unlawful and is putting others at risk," a tweet by the force said.

"We are directing those there to go home.

"Failure to do so will result in enforcement action."

A number of police vans and officers were still in place on Oxford Street soon before 8pm, while a number of protesters remained grouped in.

Commander Connors said: "I would continue to urge people across the city to keep yourselves safe and stick to the regulations."

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