Nine police officers were injured and 16 people were arrested following clashes at the anti-lockdown demonstrations in central London on Saturday (September 26).

Thousands attended the 'we do not consent' rally in Trafalgar Square before moving to Hyde Park, with none appearing to wear face coverings or social distancing.

But protesters clashed violently with officers when police tried to shut the event down and disperse crowds due to a lack of compliance social distancing.

Bottles were thrown, although the Met say this was a small minority, and police used batons against protesters, leaving some with visible injuries.

Wimbledon Times:

Two officers were taken to hospital with head injuries, whilst several demonstrators also required medical treatment.

Police said 16 people were arrested for a variety of offences, including breaching Coronavirus regulations, assaulting a police officer, public order offences and violent disorder, before the crowds could be dispersed.

Commander Ade Adelekan, leading the police operation, said: “As the crowds began to swell in Trafalgar Square, it became impossible for people maintain social distancing and keep each other safe."

The police commander explained that whilst a risk assessment had been submitted the night before, there was no attempt to social distance and no effort from organisers to keep those assembling safe.

" In the interest of public safety, officers then worked quickly to disperse crowds. I am grateful to those members of the demonstration who listened to officers and went home.

“However, I am very frustrated to see that nine officers were injured during clashes with a small minority of protestors."

Wimbledon Times:

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, stressed that large gatherings, including protests, were still banned to stop the spread of Covid-19.

He added: "The reckless and violent behaviour of some protestors has left hard-working police officers injured and put the safety of our city, which is at a critical moment in the fight against this virus, at risk. This is totally unacceptable.

"We cannot let the sacrifices Londoners have made be undermined by the selfish behaviour of a small number.

"Violence of this kind towards officers will not be tolerated and perpetrators will feel the full force of the law."

Officers penned the crowd in Trafalgar Square and water was thrown at them by demonstrators, while crowds also chanted "pick your side" at the officers.

Police removed sound equipment from Trafalgar Square and several protesters were led away in handcuffs.

Another demonstrator was physically carried away from the scene by officers.

Earlier, police searched a man and confiscated a makeshift riot shield he was carrying.

The protest comes a week after a separate event which saw more than a dozen officers injured when a "small minority" targeted police and more than 32 arrests were made.

The Met said it had been engaging with organisers throughout the week to remind them of their legal obligations and explaining the events could be in breach of coronavirus regulations.

While protests are exempt from the "rule of six" in England, organisers must submit a risk assessment and comply with social distancing.