14 nabbed in anti-lockdown protest in southwest England

LONDON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Around 14 people have been arrested in Bristol in southwest England after anti-lockdown marchers defied police orders to cancel their protest, local media reported Sunday.

Police officers speak with protesters urging them to leave the area in Whitehall during a demonstration against a second lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, in London on November 7, 2020. (File photo: AFP)

Local police said about 400 people gathered on College Green at mid-day on Saturday before marching through the city center in protest of the lockdown measures, said the London-based Evening Standard newspaper.

The protest went ahead in defiance of the lockdown restrictions in England, the month-long social curbs starting Nov. 5, which bans gatherings of more than two people.

Warning the event was unlawful in advance, local police said several people were identified as leaders of the protest and were arrested.

Most arrests were for breaches of the coronavirus regulations, with one man also arrested for assaulting a police officer, local police said.

By law, anyone organizing or facilitating a gathering of more than 30 people is liable to a fixed penalty notice of 10,000 pounds (about 13,121 U.S. dollars) while those participating in a gathering of more than two people can be fined 200 pounds (about 262.4 dollars).

England's lockdown, the second of its kind since the coronavirus outbreak in the country, is expected to end on Dec. 2.

The next two weeks will be "absolutely crucial" if England's lockdown is to end as planned on Dec. 2, a government scientific adviser, professor Susan Michie, said Saturday.

The public must resist breaking the rules in order to "be in a position" to spend the Christmas period with loved ones, she said.

Another 26,860 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,344,356, according to official figures released Saturday.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 462 to 51,766, the data showed.

Britain is the first European nation to record more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths. It is the fifth country in the world to hit the tragic milestone, following the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the U.S. are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.