LONDON: 13 people in total were arrested for breach of Covid regulations during a demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in London on Sunday (December 6). Four of those people were subsequently de-arrested after they provided their details to officers and were issued a fine. The other nine were taken into police custody and later released under investigation.
The demonstration was held to protest against farming reform in India and banners saying “justice for farmers” were held aloft outside India House in Holborn. Protesters let off orange smoke bombs and a group on motorcycles revved their engines as police lined the road outside the high commission.
According to a police report, three teenagers who were seen to set off a firework towards a crowd were spoken to by police and fireworks were confiscated from them. It can now be clarified that they were not arrested.
The demonstration was reportedly organised in support of Indian farmers but Khalistani supporters in a large number mingled among demonstrators and chanted slogans for independence and formation of Khalistan.
Before the demonstration, Metropolitan police had issued a reminder to those attending the demonstration in the Aldwych area that strict regulations introduced by the Government remained in place to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Organisers said thousands of people were descending on London for the protest. The Sikh UK Federation tweeted a video of the protest, showing dozens of people outside the Indian High Commission waving flags and chanting. In the tweet, it said: “Siege of the Indian High Commission in London in support of farmers peacefully protesting in Delhi.”
Police Commander Paul Brogden said: “I would like to thank the officers who policed this protest under very challenging circumstances, and Londoners for their patience following the disruption to traffic caused by the numbers in attendance.
“We had issued a reminder urging those who were planning to attend to reconsider but, unfortunately, a number of people decided not to follow that advice. A proportionate policing plan was in place, the demonstration has now concluded and those in attendance have begun to leave.
“I would like to remind everyone that although London has now moved to Tier Two, the capital remains in the midst of a pandemic; it is vital that we all play our part in the fight against Covid-19. 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,” he reminded.