Anti-vaccine protesters injure police in London rally

Similar protests were held in France where new restrictions include a ban travel from the UK

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Police officers have suffered minor injuries during scuffles at an anti-vaccine protest in London.

The protests were staged in central London as city leaders said the latest wave of Covid infections amounted to a “major incident” as new cases across the country hit 90,418 – just shy of the record high of Friday.

Similar protests were held in France where new restrictions are being introduced, including bans on New Year parties and travel from the UK.

Officers in London were injured while attempting to escort a police motorcyclist through the area at around 12.30pm on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said.

Video footage from the protest posted on social media shows shoving between police and protesters.

A group of protesters stopped outside a shop on Regent Street, police said. They began “directing abuse” at people inside and egging the shop until police intervened, ending the incident.

No arrests were made.

Anti-vaccination protesters demonstrate near Downing Street in London. AP

In France, thousands of people marched in Paris and other cities to demonstrate against the new restrictions.

There were a higher-than-usual number of participants because it was the first school holiday weekend.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday that with the Omicron variant spreading "like lightning", the government proposed requiring proof of vaccination for those entering restaurants, cafes and other public establishments.

Demonstrators against the new vaccine pass in Paris. AP

Under the bill to be put forward in January, people would be required to show proof of vaccination, not just a negative Covid test. The measure is pending approval by parliament.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said the government would start giving vaccines to children in the 5-to-11 age group, beginning on Wednesday.

Updated: December 19, 2021, 7:44 AM