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Police officers stop a protester as anti-lockdown demonstrators march in central London. Photo: Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

London police arrested at least 155 people during protests against coronavirus lockdown measures Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said.

Driving the news: Protesters, including many who were not wearing masks, marched through parts of London, chanting "freedom" and holding signs that read: "no more lockdowns," per Sky News. The country has been under a national lockdown since Nov. 5.

  • The U.K. will impose a strengthened version of an earlier three-tiered system of local restrictions to curb COVID-19 when the lockdown ends Dec. 2, officials announced last week.
  • Most of the country, including London, will be in the two highest tiers, meaning some 55 million people will continue to face strict measures, including a ban on mixing with other households while indoors, per BBC.

What they're saying: "More than 150 arrests were made while policing today's protest in London. We made it very clear how we would police this event, warning those looking to attend that they risked facing enforcement action," the Metropolitan Police tweeted.

  • Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell said: “This was a challenging day for Met, City of London and British Transport Police officers and I would like to thank them for the professionalism they have shown throughout the day."
  • The Met said in a statement on Friday that protests were "not currently a permitted exemption to the prohibition on gatherings under the current Coronavirus regulations."
  • “This type of behaviour not only breaks the law, it also risks spreading the virus between multiple areas of the country," Stuart Bell added.

Some civil liberties groups called the Met statement a "chilling misrepresentation of the law that fails to respect both the Coronavirus Regulations currently in place and fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression."

The big picture: The U.K. recorded 15,871 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, down from 16,022 reported a day earlier.

  • The country recorded 479 deaths on Saturday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new comments and an updated number of arrests from the Metropolitan Police.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.