A British MP expressed his concern on Tuesday over the arrest of a 72-year-old woman who had been part of a small peaceful protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London.
The woman, who was seen to be carried into the back of a police van, was taking part in what is believed to have been a small anti-lockdown protest.
Sir Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne, who witnessed the incident, made a point of order in the House of Commons later that day, where he stated that he thought the incident was un-British and un-constitutional and called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “end these injustices now.”
Walker asked the deputy speaker of the House, Dame Rosie Winterton, to bring the prime minister and/or the Home Secretary Priti Patel to the House of Commons to “sort this mess out.”
“She was an old lady, robbed of her dignity for having the courage to protest about having her fundamental rights and those of my constituents and others removed,” Walker said.
The incident, which took place outside the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, seems to have involved two or three people who were peacefully protesting. It appears that after refusing to move and disband the protest, the lady was then forcibly removed by transport officers of the Metropolitan Police.
In a video posted to social media, Walker can be heard saying to police officers, “You must have mothers? What an outrage, what a disgrace.” When pressing one of the officers as to the reason for the arrest, he was told that it was for “persistent breach of COVID regulations” and that she didn’t have an exemption to protest. Walker can later be heard saying, “She has a fundamental right to protest and you’re arresting her.”
According to LBC, Tom Ridgway, who witnessed the incident, said: “I saw an elderly woman, apparently an anti-lockdown protester, being bundled into the back of a police van at 2 p.m. outside the entrance to Parliament. I only saw one other protester who was shouting; it didn’t seem to be an organised protest.”
Walker, who is the former chair of the House of Commons Procedure Committee, has become an outspoken member of British politics of late, being opposed to the government’s lockdown measures and voting against the recent national lockdown, alongside former Prime Minister Theresa May, who abstained, and former leader of the Conservative Party Ian Duncan Smith.
He stated at the time that he could not support the policy “because as we drift further into an authoritarian, coercive state, the only legal mechanism left open to me is to vote against that legislation.”
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said in a statement published in The Telegraph: “A group had come together to protest. Police engaged with those present and explained the current restrictions around gatherings of more than two people. Two women refused to engage and were subsequently arrested for breaching the coronavirus restrictions.
“A third woman refused to comply, was arrested for breaching the coronavirus restrictions, and then became uncooperative with officers. She was taken by police transport to custody.”