Five police officers injured and 29 arrested at anti-lockdown protest

Five police officers have been injured and 29 people arrested following anti-lockdown protests in central London.

Hundreds of people joined marches down Oxford and Regent Street on Saturday, and were dispersed several times by police.

There were several clashes between officers and unmasked demonstrators, who chanted "we demand freedom".

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Police officer push back protester at Piccadilly Circus during an anti lockdown protest on December 19, 2020 in London, England. With the majority of the United Kingdom now under the strictest tier 3 lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to hold a press conference later in the day to update the public on advice around travel and gatherings at Christmas. (Photo by Maciek Musialek/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A woman is arrested during an anti lockdown protest on December 19, 2020 in London, England. With the majority of the United Kingdom now under the strictest tier 3 lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to hold a press conference later in the day to update the public on advice around travel and gatherings at Christmas. (Photo by Maciek Musialek/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A man is arrested during an anti lockdown protest on December 19, 2020 in London, England. With the majority of the United Kingdom now under the strictest tier 3 lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to hold a press conference later in the day to update the public on advice around travel and gatherings at Christmas. (Photo by Maciek Musialek/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A group of demonstrators march along Whitehall during a protest against the restrictions and legislations imposed by the Government to control the spread of coronavirus, lockdowns, mandatory face masks and vaccines, on 19 December, 2020 in London, England. In the run up to Christmas 68% of England's population live in areas under the highest tier 3 coronavirus restrictions as the infection rates continue to rise. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Police arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Westminster against the restrictions and legislations imposed by the Government to control the spread of coronavirus, lockdowns, mandatory face masks and vaccines, on 19 December, 2020 in London, England. In the run up to Christmas 68% of England's population live in areas under the highest tier 3 coronavirus restrictions as the infection rates continue to rise. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Police arrest a demonstrator during a protest in Westminster against the restrictions and legislations imposed by the Government to control the spread of coronavirus, lockdowns, mandatory face masks and vaccines, on 19 December, 2020 in London, England. In the run up to Christmas 68% of England's population live in areas under the highest tier 3 coronavirus restrictions as the infection rates continue to rise. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Protesters hold placards as they gather at a "Memorial March" in central Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in north-east England on December 19, 2020, to unite against restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters gather at a "Memorial March" in central Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in north-east England on December 19, 2020, to unite against restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters hold up placards as they gather at a "Memorial March" in central Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in north-east England on December 19, 2020, to unite against restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A protester holds up a placard as they gather at a "Memorial March" in central Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in north-east England on December 19, 2020, to unite against restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: A man is arrested during an anti lockdown protest on December 19, 2020 in London, England. With the majority of the United Kingdom now under the strictest tier 3 lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to hold a press conference later in the day to update the public on advice around travel and gatherings at Christmas. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
A protester is arrested before being taken away by police officers on Whitehall after a gathering in Parliament Square for an anti-lockdown demonstration, "Unite in the Fight" in central London on December 19, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters march up Whitehall after gathering in Parliament Square at an anti-lockdown demonstration, "Unite in the Fight" in central London on December 19, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters march up Whitehall after gathering in Parliament Square at an anti-lockdown demonstration, "Unite in the Fight" in central London on December 19, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted calls to tighten coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, as London faced stricter measures and concern grew about rising case numbers. The government has been under mounting pressure to toughen proposals allowing up to three households to meet indoors during a five-day festive window from December 23, as European neighbours curb their easing plans amid surging infections. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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It came as Boris Johnson announced that several areas of eastern and south-east England would be placed under Tier 4 restrictions – the toughest in the UK.

At a press conference, Mr Johnson praised the "amazing work" of police and their "soft touch" approach to dealing with rule breakers.

The Metropolitan Police account later tweeted: "We arrested 29 people today following demonstrations across the city.

"Unacceptably five of our officers were injured – thankfully their injuries are not serious."

Multiple people were arrested near Trafalgar Square, including Andreas Michli – a gym owner from Wood Green, who refused to close the venue during the second national lockdown.

"I'm going to keep doing this until we're free," he said as he was led to a police van.

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