19 arrested in UK as anti-lockdown protests held across Europe

Demonstrators gather to protest against lockdown measures and other government policies relating to the novel coronavirus crisis on May 16, 2020 in Stuttgart, Germany. 

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

In Britain, despite lockdown measures having been slightly relaxed last week, about 50 people gathered in London’s Hyde Park on Saturday as part of a sparsely attended nationwide protest. Many European nations have closed schools and businesses and have asked people to remain largely in their homes. 19 arrested in UK as anti-lockdown protesters demonstrate across Europe

By Haley Ott

May 18, 2020 / 4:48 PM
/ CBS News

London — Anti-lockdown protesters demonstrated across Europe over the weekend, voicing their dissatisfaction with government measures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. At the gathering in Hyde Park, however, social distancing rules were flouted.”I work for a mental health charity, and I’m concerned about the impacts of lockdown on people with mental illness,” one London protester named David, who declined to give his last name, told CBS News.”You know there’s a virus going on, we need to be looking out for each other, we need to be sharing love for each other rather than fear and avoidance,” he said.A number of the London demonstrators were also decrying vaccines and 5G mobile phone networks. Thousands of people took to the streets in Germany, even though the country had recently eased its lockdown measures, the Associated Press reported. In Munich, authorities said that over 1,000 people gathered. In Stuttgart, there were over 5,000 demonstrators, according to the AP.In the Polish capital of Warsaw, police used teargas against demonstrators and claimed the protest was illegal because it was not approved in advance, the AP said. Dozens of people, including a senator, were reportedly detained. They’ve shut down the whole world because of a cold,” protester Reese Roberts told CBS News.”If you jump out of an airplane and you have COVID in your body, (they’ll put) COVID-19 on your death certificate,” he said. Nineteen were arrested, according to London’s Metropolitan Police. 

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It was the first weekend since the country’s lockdown began in March that people were permitted to meet up with non-members of their households, as long as they did so one at a time, and from an appropriate distance.