Multiple arrests at anti-lockdown protest in London

Twelve people have been arrested for breaching Covid-19 restrictions during an anti-lockdown protest in south-west London, the Metropolitan Police said.

A crowd of about 30 people marched down Clapham High Street on Saturday afternoon chanting "take your freedom back" while being heckled by members of the public.

The protest took place after London mayor Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" as the spread of coronavirus threatens to "overwhelm" the capital's hospitals.

The Met said 12 people were arrested and taken into custody.

Dozens of officers were deployed to Clapham Common to try and contain the protest, which was organised by the group StandupX and began shortly after midday.

One woman shouted from her car: "There's a pandemic going on, you twats" as the maskless protesters headed east towards Stockwell, while another bystander called them idiots.

The small group of demonstrators eventually returned to Clapham Common park before being dispersed by police.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 9: Police detain several anti lockdown protestors in Brockwell park Brixton whom had initially gathered near Windrush square before heading into the park on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. ( Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 9: Police detain several anti lockdown protestors in Brockwell park Brixton whom had initially gathered near Windrush square before heading into the park on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. ( Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 9: Police detain several anti lockdown protestors in Brockwell park Brixton whom had initially gathered near Windrush square before heading into the park on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. ( Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 9: Police detain several anti lockdown protestors in Brockwell park Brixton whom had initially gathered near Windrush square before heading into the park on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. ( Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester wearing a "Make Britain Great Again" baseball cap is detained by Police on Clapham high street during the anti-lockdown demonstration on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester is arrested by Police on Clapham High Street during the anti-lockdown demonstration on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester holds a Stand Up X flyer in front of the camera as another protestor is arrested by Police at Clapham Common during the anti-lockdown demonstration on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester is arrested by Police on Clapham Common during the anti-lockdown demonstration on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester is arrested by Police on Clapham Common during the anti-lockdown demonstration on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester holds a sign in the city centre on January 09, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Police write out a notices to leave the area to protesters in the city centre on January 09, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Police speak to a protester at the seafront on January 09, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Police arrest a protester on the seafront on January 09, 2021 in Bournemouth, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Police officers detain an anti-lockdown protester on Clapham Common, south London, on January 9, 2021 as life continues in Britain's third lockdown that prohibits large public gatherings in an effort to control surging cases of Covid-19. - Britain is under a renewed coronavirus lockdown to try to cut spiralling infection rates and deaths blamed on a fast-spreading virus variant. Stay-at-home restrictions, which involve closure of school for most children and all non-essential retail, allow for some forms of outdoor exercise once per day and are expected to last until at least mid-February. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Tolga Akmen has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [January 9, 2021] instead of [January 21, 2021]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: An anti-lockdown protester is detained by police officers in Newcastle city centre on January 09, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Police officers detain an anti-lockdown protester in Clapham, south London, on January 9, 2021 as life continues in Britain's third lockdown that prohibits large public gatherings in an effort to control surging cases of Covid-19. - Britain is under a renewed coronavirus lockdown to try to cut spiralling infection rates and deaths blamed on a fast-spreading virus variant. Stay-at-home restrictions, which involve closure of school for most children and all non-essential retail, allow for some forms of outdoor exercise once per day and are expected to last until at least mid-February. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Tolga Akmen has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [January 9, 2021] instead of [January 21, 2021]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: A protester wearing a "Make Britain Great Again" baseball cap is detained by Police on Clapham high street during the anti-lockdown demonstration on January 9, 2021 in London, England. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has filmed an advert for HM Government warning that people should stay home as the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the country. Despite these warnings the protest group StandUpX are demonstrating against coronavirus lockdown measures and vaccines. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Police detain a man during an anti-lockdown protest in Clapham Common, London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Police presence before a proposed anti-lockdown protest in Clapham Common, London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images 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 remove 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 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: 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)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/01/06: Police officers detain a woman at Parliament Square during the demonstration. Anti-Lockdown Protests lead to arrests of multiple people, for violation of recently-implemented regulations. (Photo by Thomas Krych/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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NHS England figures showed the number of Covid patients in London hospitals stands at 7,277, up 32% on the previous week.

Around eight in 10 recent positive cases of Covid-19 in London and eastern England could be the new variant discovered in the UK, according to the ONS.

The Met tweeted: "12 people have been arrested for breaching Covid regs at a protest in #ClaphamCommon for today. All have been taken into custody.

"Others in attendance were dispersed. The policing operation continues. Gathering for the purpose of a protest is not an exemption to the rules & and people looking to attend may face enforcement action."

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