Ten people attend anti-lockdown protest outside Millennium Square in Leeds

Ten people attended an anti-lockdown protest in Millennium Square.

Sunday, 29th November 2020, 5:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th November 2020, 5:16 pm

A small crowd gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall at 1pm to protest against current coronavirus restrictions.

Police officers were in attendance to control any potential crowds.

However, only ten people went to the event.

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Police speaking with anti-lockdown protesters in Millennium Square. SWNS.

According to people on the scene there were considerably more police officers than activists.

No placards or signs were spotted.

One passerby said: "You'd have no idea there even was a protest today."

In October, around 200 people gathered in Millennium Square for what was advertised online as a 'peaceful protest' against coronavirus restrictions.

A man taking a photo of a police officer during an anti-lockdown protest in Leeds. SWNS.

However, three people were arrested and a police officer was punched during the event.

Groups who attended included anti-lockdown protesters and anti-vaccination groups, as well as far right activists - with many coming from outside Leeds - West Yorkshire Police said.

Stand Up X Yorkshire were one of the groups involved.

Video posted online showed groups of protesters gathered around and shouting at police officers while they attempted to take someone's details.

Ten anti-lockdown protesters in Millennium Square.

Some then go on to push and shove police officers.

Incapicatant spray was used after an officer was "punched", a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said: "The organisers made no attempt to make the event Covid-secure and as such the protest was in breach of public health regulations.

"Officers were deployed to engage with the protesters and attempt to ensure they complied with social distancing measures.

"The organisers refused to ensure any social distancing was complied with and as such officers attempted to issue fixed penalty notices to three individuals who refused to give details and as a result were arrested under public health legislation.

"Some of the protesters attempted to obstruct the arrest and an officer was punched which resulted in incapacitant spray being used.

"Those arrested were later released on police bail."

The spokesman went on to outline the balance between the right to protest against public safety.

He added: "West Yorkshire Police fully acknowledges the importance of lawful protests and demonstrations, but these have to be balanced against current legislation which is in place to protect the health and safety of the public during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

"There are restrictions on protests, which include completing risk assessments to ensure such events do not contribute to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, we urge protest organisers to engage fully with the police at the earliest opportunity so appropriate assessments can be made."