Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters trying to storm vaccine centre

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3 min read
Police clash with protesters in Bradford (@man_marrow)
Police clash with protesters in Bradford (@man_marrow)

At least 13 protesters were arrested after clashing with police as they tried to storm a coronavirus vaccine centre.

A group of around 400 anti-lockdown demonstrators, anti-vaccination groups and anti-government protesters took to the streets of Bradford on Saturday afternoon.

The crowd gathered to march from City Hall and Bradford Magistrates’ Court to Centenary Square.

West Yorkshire Police said the majority of demonstrators were “peaceful” but some “attempted to cause disruption” as they headed towards a vaccine clinic.

Read: School facing Mohammad cartoon anger turns pupils away as protesters return

The force added that many people who attended were not believed to have been from the Bradford area.

“Whilst the majority of protesters were peaceful, some protesters attempted to cause disruption by making their way to a vaccination centre in the city,” West Yorkshire Police said.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Bradford on Saturday (@BadNogbad)
Hundreds of people took to the streets in Bradford on Saturday (@BadNogbad)

“Officers intervened to stop this from happening. At no time were any vaccination centres or testing centres affected.”

Nine police officers were injured during the clashes, the force said.

Police said 13 people have now been arrested on suspicion of several offences including public order.

Another 19 people were issued fixed penalty notices for breaching COVID-19 regulations and several dispersal orders were issued.

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Oz Khan, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We are grateful to the communities of Bradford, who have attended the protest in a peaceful way.

“However, there was a group of people who had travelled from outside the Bradford district to cause trouble.

“Protest policing is challenging and complex – and even more so during these unprecedented times and public safety is, and always will be the police’s top priority.

“The majority of people were peaceful, and I am pleased to say there was no significant disorder,” he added.

Watch: Bristol police urge people to avoid further Kill The Bill protests after another night of chaos

‘West Yorkshire Police is continuing to work hard to keep the public safe during the ongoing threat from Coronavirus.’

It came as demonstrators descended on cities like Manchester, Brighton, Bath and Sheffield, for further Kill The Bill and anti-lockdown protests.

Tensions have been high since MPs passed the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill earlier this month, which gives extra powers to police forces to clampdown on protests.

On Saturday, 18 people were arrested after protesters blocked tram lines in Manchester.

On Friday night, violence erupted as a crowd of more than 1,000 people marched through Bristol city centre.

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Police officers wearing helmets and holding shields moved towards the protesters after 10pm, after calling for the crowd to disperse due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Avon and Somerset Police said glass bottles, bricks and eggs were thrown at officers.

Fireworks were launched at the force's mounted division, with one horse being daubed with paint.

Protesters had also shone laser lights into officers’ faces, the force said.

Watch: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: What's in it and why it's caused controversy