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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

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 23, 2021 - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Jan 23, 2021 - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Latest James Bond movie release delayed for third time

An advertisement poster featuring Daniel Craig in the new James Bond movie "No Time to Die" in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

The release of the latest James Bond film, "No Time to Die," has been postponed for the third time as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate Hollywood.

The state of play: The film's release, initially scheduled for April 2020, was first postponed to November 2020, and then to April 2021. MGM said this week that movie's global debut will now be delayed until Oct. 8.