A video showing a woman arrested for violating Covid-19 rules after sitting on a bench was “staged” by anti-lockdown protesters, police said.
Footage showing a woman being handcuffed and led away in Bournemouth by officers was widely circulated today, Sunday 10th January.
Initially, the police came under fire for intervening.
Still, Dorset Police said tonight they believed the footage was “planned, staged and taped”.
In the video, the woman repeatedly said “I was sitting on a bench” when she was apparently taken away by officers.
But according to the police, it’s an elaborate joke.
It is said that members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were in town on Saturday compiled the footage.
According to police, three people were arrested after the demonstrations after they refused to give their details to officials trying to fine them for violating coronavirus regulations.
Dorset Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Callaghan said: “We believe this video was planned, staged and taped by members of the protest group who have surfaced in several areas, some of which have refused to engage and give their details.
“If people refuse to provide their information under such circumstances, the only option left is to arrest the officers until the details are known.
“Our officers would only arrest as a last resort.”
Two of the detainees were later “arrested” after giving their details to officers and subsequently fined.
A third person was also released and fined after their details were verified in custody.
At least seven firm criminal charges were filed against those who broke the lockdown rules that day.
Deputy Police Commissioner Callaghan said the police had repeatedly tried to contact protest organizers to tell them not to do so, but were unsuccessful.
“It was clear that the group was deliberately organizing their activities, walking around in pairs and then trying to band together in a ‘flash mob’ style as before,” he said in a statement.
“This activity lasted a couple of hours.”
Some of the protesters stayed in the area for “long periods” despite being warned by police not to leave the area.
Deputy Police Commissioner Callaghan said some attendees also traveled considerable distances to attend the event.
A separate anti-lockdown protest held in Clapham Common, southwest London on Saturday resulted in 16 arrests.