Anti-lockdown protester arrested for ‘sitting on bench’ in police crackdown

A woman appeared to be sitting on a bench has been arrested after police officers cracked down on an anti-lockdown protest group.

The arrest took place at Bournemouth beach on Saturday, January 9 as a breach of Covid-19 lockdown legislation.

Footage shared onto social media begins with three police officers giving warnings to a woman, who is walking on a beach with an elderly man.

The officers claim she had left her house more than once in a day, explaining: "At the moment you're allowed out for exercise once a day.

"You've been filmed today in the town centre and around here and walking up and down."

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The woman in a grey parka then argues: "How have I acted anti-socially? I just sat there on a bench having a cup of coffee!"

The camerawoman then walks further down the promenade where another four police officers are arresting a woman in a purple coat.

She asks: "What's going on, why are you putting her hands behind her back? What are you doing?"

The woman then shouts: "I was sitting on a bench. I was sitting on a bench."

The police then lead her away in handcuffs while other pedestrians ask why they feel it is necessary.

Nick Capo, who posted the clip on Instagram, wrote: "They believe she’s outside for a second time, this lady and another are both arrested for refusing to give their details to receive a £200 fine for being outside exercising for a second time.

"Is one woman out twice in the open air really worth multiple officers? I’m not comfortable with my tax money going toward this, at all."

But Matty Hall, who claimed to be one of the eyewitnesses, commented: "Massively out of context this video. I was walking there and most of these people were protesting, including the woman filming.

"They were given a section 35 (or something) and asked to move on but many refused so they got arrested."

He further explained: "Police were calm but one or two of the protestors got loud, so got arrested.

"Granted the woman on the beach was not protesting, but she refused to leave the area when kindly asked and then got difficult and refuse to cooperate. That's why she was arrested and her mate in the grey coat was not."

Dorset Police released a statement yesterday condemning the actions of protestors for breaching Covid-19 lockdown rules.

It read: "During the week, the Force became aware of plans for protest activity in Bournemouth on Saturday 9 January 2021.

"There were repeated attempts to engage with the organisers to request that they did not go ahead with the planned protest, but this was not successful.

"This action did however lead to the individuals changing their approach resulting in protesters walking around in smaller groups.

"Officers attended the town centre to disrupt the protest and disperse the smaller groups."

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of breach of the Covid-19 regulations for failing to provide their details to officers.

At least seven fixed penalty notices were issued and more than 10 section 35 dispersal orders were issued, the police stated.

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