Anti-lockdown Londoners turned violent, throwing bottles and cans at police officers who attempted to maintain order during the demonstration that violated coronavirus regulations, reported Sky News.
Officers were reportedly forced to run back to their vehicles as roughly 100 people violently pursued them, punching and kicking the officers they came into contact with.
The protest circled round Hyde Park and continued onto Oxford Street, but roughly 100w riot police with helmets and shields were forced to descend upon the royal park, when people grew aggressive as it grew darker.
Demonstrators shouted “shame on you” at police, while others carried banners that read “stop destroying our kids’ lives” and “Yes sex is great, but have you ever been f***ed by the Government?” reported London publication, The Evening Standard.
The Metropolitan Police took to twitter Saturday afternoon to announce, “Officers will take action when necessary.”
“Met officers are engaging with those gathering around Piccadilly and other areas of central London to protest, explaining that we remain in a public health crisis and urging people to disperse or go home,” they wrote.
Leaders of the Labour Party, a center-left political party in the U.K., lead the march to protest Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strict COVID measures.
London has been in lockdown since December 20, but England was set to begin reopening on March 29, with groups of six people or less allowed to meet outside.
Shops were not set to begin reopening until April 12, reported the BBC, but it is unclear if the densely populated city of London would follow the reset of the country’s guidelines.
Saturday’s protest came just days after 60 Members of Parliament wrote a letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, warning against the criminalization of protesting, reported The Evening Standard.
The letter said it “is not acceptable and is arguably not lawful,” for police to prevent people from protesting. The letter followed the Metropolitan Police’s breakup of a vigil for Sarah Everard last week, a London woman abducted and murdered by a police officer.