Two protesters who set up camp outside a VW dealership in London have been moved on by police using Covid-19 restrictions.
The pair had been protesting outside Alan Day Volkswagen on the North Circular in Southgate several times a week for three months.
Yahoo News reported that police told one protester, who would only give his name as ‘Andrew’, that what he was doing was illegal and that if he didn’t move on ‘he’d be arrested’.
Officers told the men that their protest against the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China could not carry on and their belief that the stand was a reasonable excuse to leave home was not correct.
The men had been holding placards outside the dealership highlighting the plight of muslims in ‘Chinese concentration camps’.
The protesters want VW to pull out its operations from Xinjiang.
One banner said: ‘Volkswagen don’t repeat WW2. Leave Xinjiang, China.’
Andrew told Yahoo News: ‘They [the police] were talking quite loudly and after three months of having been in no danger at these protests whatsoever I felt that we were under not insignificant danger from these policemen, because these policemen come into contact with all sorts of people as part of their job.
‘I feel sorry for them – but they’re then putting us in extreme danger because of what they’re doing.
‘What we’re doing is fully legal.’
A spokesman for the Met Police said that gathering for the purpose of a protest ‘is not an exemption under the legislation’.
Officers can use their power of arrest when dealing with Covid-19 infringements, added the spokesman, and fines can be issued.
A VW spokesperson told Yahoo News that the car maker ‘strictly opposes’ any form of forced labour in its operations around the world.
The spokesperson added: ‘We have no evidence that forced labour is being used in our direct supply chain or at any of our production plants.
‘At our plant in Urumqi, all employees have a direct labour contract with SAIC Volkswagen with equal pay for equal jobs.
‘No organisation outside of SAIC Volkswagen has any role or influence in hiring decisions.’
Photo credit: Andrew