At least one officer has been injured after clashes between police and demonstrators at a “Kill the Bill” protest in central London.
Projectiles were thrown as police pushed protesters away and at least one officer was injured in the scuffle.
Dozens of extra officers were brought in to help unblock the road for a McDonald’s lorry held up outside parliament – and one man was seen being taken away by the police.
Organisers reminded demonstrators to stay socially distanced as crowds grew to more than 300, and speeches were made opposite the Houses of Parliament.
Several women addressed the crowd and shared personal experiences of suffering abuse, while many others carried anti-sexism placards and chanted “women scared everywhere, police and government do not care”.
The heated scenes in Parliament Square came amid otherwise peaceful demonstrations across the country over the proposed crime legislation, which opponents fear will limit their right to protest.
Saturday has seen protests not just in the capital, but also in Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Brighton, despite ongoing lockdown restrictions.
More than 1,000 people gathered in Bristol for what was the fifth Kill the Bill demonstration in the city centre in the last two weeks.
Yesterday, Ryan Paul Roberts, 25, was charged with attempted arson with intent to endanger life after an enflamed item was placed underneath an occupied police van outside Bristol’s Bridewell Police Station during a protest on 21 March.
In Manchester, people were seen sitting on tram tracks before police moved in.
Greater Manchester Police had previously issued a 48-hour dispersal notice for those engaging in anti-social behaviour.
The protestors have been demonstrating against proposed changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The changes would give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including for being too noisy or a nuisance, with fines or jail terms for those convicted.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the gathering in central London today.
He described the bill as a “very dangerous, slippery slope” and defended the right to protest.
“If we don’t protest, things don’t change,” he said, which drew cheers and applause from the crowd.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: “The majority of people at today’s events in central London have tried to adhere to social distancing and COVID legislation.
“A small minority are blocking the road at Parliament Square. Officers are on scene engaging and encouraging them to move so we can reopen the roads.”