Dozens arrested near Parliament following anti-lockdown protest

Dozens of arrests were made in London after anti-lockdown protesters congregated near Parliament.

A Metropolitan Police statement confirmed that 21 people were arrested in Parliament Square after the demonstration began at 12pm on Wednesday.

The protests were planned after England entered a period of strengthened coronavirus restrictions.

Footage on social media showed a large police presence and a number of demonstrators being removed from the scene.

Separately, seven people were detained and later handed a fixed penalty notice following a small gathering outside Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The force had warned that protesters would face "enforcement action" by officers if they were to turn up to any planned events.

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Police officers detain a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers detain a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON - UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 6: British police arrest demonstrator protesting government's lockdown decision imposed to stem coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic outside the House of Commons in London, United Kingdom on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
LONDON - UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 6: A man takes part in a protest against government's lockdown decision imposed to stem coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic outside the House of Commons in London, United Kingdom on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Police officers detain a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON - UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 6: British police stand near a demonstrator protesting government's lockdown decision imposed to stem coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic outside the House of Commons in London, United Kingdom on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Protestors remonstrate with Police offices during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers arrest a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers arrest a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers attempt to detain a protestor and his dog during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers arrest a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Protestors remonstrate with Police offices during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON - UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 6: British police arrest demonstrator protesting government's lockdown decision imposed to stem coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic outside the House of Commons in London, United Kingdom on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Police officers detain a protestor during an anti-COVID-19 lockdown demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London on January 6, 2021. - Britain toughened its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, with England and Scotland going into lockdown and shutting schools, as surging cases have added to fears of a new virus variant. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
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Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said on Wednesday: "For those planning on demonstrating, you are reminded of your obligation to adhere to the Government guidelines and stay at home.

"If people are found to be in breach of regulations, put in place to keep the public safe, then they can expect to see enforcement from officers.

"This will not just be organisers of the gatherings but participants too – by now everyone knows their part to play in stopping the spread of the virus.

"People that gather as part of this protest today risk the health of Londoners. I will not tolerate this and that is why we have a policing plan in place to disperse crowds and if necessary, take enforcement action."

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