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Angry scenes on the night before England went into lockdown

Police were attacked and patrols were increased as revellers made the most of their final opportunity to go out before England’s four-week lockdown took effect.

From Thursday, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors after the Commons voted by 516 to 38 – a Government majority of 478 – for the new restrictions.

The lockdown is intended to protect the NHS as the Government seeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It comes as Wales prepares to leave its firebreak lockdown on Monday, November 9.

The streets of many English cities were packed as people made the most of the last day before restrictions are introduced.

In many areas police patrols were increased, and there were reports of some disturbances.



Police officers move crowds in Soho


Police officers confront an angry reveller
Police officers confront an angry reveller



The streets of the capital were extremely busy.

There were large crowds in Soho, which closed roads to traffic to allow outdoor dining and eating for punters, with police out patrolling the streets, ensuring people stuck to social distancing rules and did not gather in more than groups of six.



Busy scenes in London's Soho
Busy scenes in London’s Soho


Dancing in the streets
Dancing in the streets

And on social media Londoners reported high levels of traffic in the city as people attempted to leave before lockdown.

“Total traffic madness cycling home at 7pm,” Mary Creagh, CEO at walking charity Living Streets tweeted.

“Tonight, everywhere is a high traffic neighbourhood.”



There were similar scenes in city centres across England with pictures showing crowds of drinkers in Leeds, Bristol, and Newcastle.

In Bristol, police were patrolling the streets.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees has urged Covid-weary residents to pull together and fight the virus as tougher restrictions are imposed.



Police patrol in Bristol city centre

In Liverpool, hundreds of people gathered at a bonfire in the Woodchurch area of the city where officers had fireworks thrown at them after being called just before 9pm.

Chief inspector Gary O’Rourke said: “Not only did police and fire patrols come under attack on their arrival, which could’ve had catastrophic results, but there was a blatant disregard for Covid-19 restrictions, with hundreds of people in attendance drinking alcohol, mixing with other households and ignoring social distancing.


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“We will not tolerate this behaviour and are now looking at a number of lines of enquiry, including examining footage and speaking to witnesses, to ensure robust enforcement action is taken.”



Busy in Liverpool on the eve of the new English lockdown
Busy in Liverpool on the eve of the new English lockdown

Meanwhile, Sussex Police have arrested two men and appealed for witnesses after another man suffered serious injuries in a fight involving around 20 people.

There was an increased police presence in the area while enquiries continued, with detective inspector Owen Radley urging “anyone who witnessed the assault to make contact with us immediately”.

Do you understand Wales’ new lockdown rules? Please let us know in this short survey:

Superintendent Mike Walker, gold commander for North Yorkshire Police’s response to Covid-19, said the force would undertake extra patrols to ensure public compliance with the regulations.

Meanwhile, chief constables in the north-west of the country said they would target the minority of the public who flouted rules by holding large gatherings, music events and parties.



A man being led away by police officers in Newcastle


Police officers deal with a man on the ground in Newcastle

There was also a party atmosphere on the streets of Newcastle.



People out in Newcastle, ahead of a national lockdown for England from Thursday. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday November 4, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

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