Kill the Bill demonstrators have clashed with police in London as thousands of people across England and Wales march against the Government’s controversial protest bill, despite coronavirus restrictions.
Footage and pictures show officers swinging their batons and using pepper spray against protesters in Parliament Square, London.
One video appears to show someone punch and officer in the face, prompting him to lash out against the crowd.
Police arrested 26 people on suspicion of committing a range of offences, including assaulting an officer, at the London demonstration.
A total of ten officers were hurt during the Parliament Square rally, although none of their injuries are believed to be serious.
Extra officers were brought in to help unblock the road outside Parliament for a McDonald’s lorry which had been held up by the crowds.
Projectiles were thrown as police pushed protesters away.
Around 50 Kill the Bill protests were reportedly organised across the country this weekend.
Nearly all of today’s demonstrations were peaceful but there were clashes in central London.
Former leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn was at the London protest and told the crowd that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was a “very dangerous, slippery slope”.
He said: “If we don’t protest, things don’t change.”
Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Police said more than 1,000 people had gathered in Bristol for a Kill the Bill protest, although there have not been any violent scenes.
At one point this evening, protesters blocked the M32 motorway for around 10 minutes before returning to Bristol’s city centre.
Protests on March 23 and 26 in Bristol ended in clashes between the police and protesters.
Avon and Somerset Superintendent Mark Runacres said the force respected the democratic right to protest, however he urged people to find other ways to share their views during the pandemic.
Hundreds of protesters also marched through Liverpool today, waving placards and chanting as they voiced their fury over the Government’s controversial bill.
Demonstrators in Manchester blocked the city centre’s tram tracks while chanting ‘kill the bill’.
Hundreds of people also marched through Newcastle, Sheffield, Birmingham, Cardiff and other cities across the country.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill aims to toughen measures officers can take to disperse demonstrations, such as imposing time and noise limits.
But campaigners and activists fear the powers would be used to curb dissent.
Met Police Commander Ade Adelekan, who was in charge of officers deployed in London said: “The vast majority of people who turned out in central London today did so while adhering to social distancing. They engaged with my officers when required and left when asked – I would like to thank them for doing so.
“However, a small minority did not engage despite the repeated efforts of officers on the ground. This left us with no option but to move to an enforcement stage and arrests have been made.
“This has been another challenging day for officers on the ground and I want to thank them for their efforts throughout the course of today.
“We remain in the middle of a global pandemic and we have made great progress in controlling the spread of the virus; we will not allow the selfish actions of a small number of people to put Londoners progress in jeopardy.”