POLICE say they have made a number of arrests after a lockdown protest in Birmingham today (Saturday January 16).

Nearly 150 people turned up to the event in the city centre despite warnings from West Midlands Police that fines would be issued and arrests made if people flouted coronavirus lockdown rules to attend.

Police say they have so far issued three fixed penalty notices and made 11 arrests following the protest - with those detained taken into police custody.

Chief Superintendent Kim Madill, Dudley's top cop who oversaw the event, said: “Although under normal circumstances we accept and protect people’s right to protest, under current legislation, attending a protest is not considered an exception to leaving your house and is unlawful.

“We advised people not to attend, and although some people listened, a large amount chose to ignore our pleas and put the safety of themselves and others at risk.

“We always seek to speak with the people who are suspected of being in breach of the regulations, but when people are not working with us or listening to our instructions, then we must enforce the rules and arrest people where appropriate.

“We need to keep our communities safe and although the group have mostly now dispersed, we will continue to monitor the area.

“We would like to thank businesses in the city centre that supported today’s operation and the majority of the public, who were not involved in the protest that were complying with Covid regulations.”

Police added that they wer aware of a video circulating on social media showing arrests from the protest and a spokesman said it had been reviewed and "we’re satisfied our officers acted proportionately".

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said he was "outraged" that people had travelled to Birmingham to protest against lockdown measures designed to keep people safe from Covid-19 and he praised the efforts of police in managing the situation.

People can read up on the current Government lockdown restrictions, which are in force throughout England, online at gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.