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The Home Secretary described recent street parties, including some that have led to clashes with the police, as “unacceptable” breaches of social-distancing rules that could trigger a fresh coronavirus surge.
She was ready to provide “more resources” to the Metropolitan Police and other forces to “enforce the law”, she said.
“The fact of the matter is we still have this disease in our communities, in society. We need people to be conscientious and act responsibly,” the Cabinet minister said.
Ms Patel spoke out about recent breaches of lockdown rules in a series of television interviews yesterday.
“What concerns me is the fact that we are seeing people in mass gatherings.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic still, a health crisis and a health emergency.
“People are still gathering in quite inappropriate ways and obviously we have seen in recent weeks protests, demonstrations that have turned ugly and violent.
“I’ve seen far too many assaults on our hard-working, outstanding police officers. That is unacceptable,” she said.
She said street parties and other mass gatherings seen over the past week had been “just not right and not proper.”
Speaking out about attacks on police attempting to shut down street parties in South London, the Home Secretary said: “What we saw was unacceptable. Police officers were assaulted and injured.
“There are a number of police officers that were injured that night which is absolutely shocking. We’ve seen violent behaviour. Violent behaviour will be met with law enforcement.”
She added: “I have actually spoken to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, I’ve made it quite clear if more support was required or needed for the police, more resources then, quite frankly, we will do whatever’s needed.
“Thuggishness and violent behaviour is simply unacceptable and the police will do the right thing, they will enforce the law.”
Ms Patel also appealed to football fans not to congregate in public following seens of mass celebrations on Merseyside following Liverpool’s Premier League triumph last week.
“Congratulations to Liverpool for winning and fans of course want to celebrate but they did not need to go to the football ground and congregate outside the stadium,” the Home Secretary said.
“You know, as much as people do want to be out right now – the weather is amazing – stick to the rules, follow the guidance.”
Ms Patel also urged people to avoid mass demonstrations such as the recent Black Lives Matters protests.
She said the protesters had “legitimate voices, legitimate causes, legitimate issues” to raise but needed to find other ways to raise them during the epidemic.
“We want to right some wrongs there, absolutely, and do much more to help and support people.
“But protesting right now will not help us get control of this awful disease,” the Home Secretary said.
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