U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a one-month lockdown beginning Nov. 5 through Dec. 2. Under these new measures, people will be confined to their homes except for essential travel, including medical reasons, education, and purchasing food.
During England's second national lockdown, the ban on demonstrations, beginning on Thursday, is expected to be passed by MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, The Times reported that home secretary Priti Patel recently informed law enforcement officials across the country about enforcing the protest ban. Some senior police officials were concerned about the new measures, calling them too draconian for a liberal society.
Quoting a Whitehall source, The Times said, "the government was not explicitly banning protests but a previous exemption, which allowed demonstrations to go forward under certain conditions despite the pandemic, would be removed."
In particular, Black Lives Matter protests were allowed during the first round of lockdowns, despite complaints from the public who couldn't travel across town to see their families.
A Home Office spokesman told The Times:
"The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. In these unprecedented circumstances, any gathering risks spreading the disease, leading to more deaths, so it is vital we all play our part in controlling the virus. People must follow the rules on meeting with others, which apply to all gatherings and therefore protests too.
One senior police officer told the Times that the new measure is "going to cause a lot of trouble. People are going to be extremely angry and there are concerns they'll protest the fact they can't protest."
According to RT News, demonstrations have already been reported since the second lockdown was announced over the weekend.
With Europe locking down for a second time to mitigate the virus' spread, people will feel their respective governments are weaponizing the pandemic to deprive them of their freedoms - this is terrible news - and one that will likely lead to continued socio-economic distress for the continent, well into 2021.