LONDON: Scotland Yard has reportedly made a number of arrests after it warned of enforcement action ahead of thousands of protesters from different parts of the UK gathering outside the Indian High Commission in central London on Sunday, as a show of support for farmers demonstrating against agricultural reforms in India.
Several police officers in face masks descended upon Aldwych to police the We stand with farmers of Punjab demonstration, having warned that strict regulations remain in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and therefore demonstrations of larger than 30 risk arrests and fines.
The Metropolitan Police had said a robust policing plan will be in place throughout Sunday and officers will take action if they witness breaches of the regulations.
If you attend a gathering that breaches the regulations, you may be committing an offence, which is punishable by a fine. In certain circumstances, if you hold a gathering of over 30 persons and you do not meet the requirements of the regulations you might be committing a different offence, which is also punishable by a fine, said Met Police Commander Paul Brogden.
I would strongly urge anyone who is planning to come to the Aldwych area to reconsider. I would also encourage anyone who is currently in attendance to leave the area. Our officers will take the appropriate action where necessary, he said.
The demonstration, largely made up of British Sikhs, involved placard waving with messages such as Justice for Farmers and sloganeering as well as several cars blocking roads.
Our High Commission has been coordinating closely with the authorities concerned and we will, together with them, address the issues that have come up for example how this gathering of thousands could take place without specific permission, an Indian High Commission spokesperson said.
It soon became clear that the gathering was led by anti-India separatists who had taken the opportunity of the protests in India to ostensibly back the farmers in India but use the opportunity to pursue their own anti-India agenda, the spokesperson said.