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Around 200 'selfish' protesters who marched in Liverpool against lockdown restrictions have been slammed for putting lives at risk.

Demonstrators gathered in several towns across England in protest against the second national lockdown, which began on Thursday November 5.

Merseyside Police say 15 people have been arrested since the protest started in the city centre at around 1pm today.

Those arrested were detained on suspicion of offences including public order offences and breaches of coronavirus legislation.

Pictures from the protest showed people – not wearing masks or socially distancing – clashing with police.

The city has had one of the highest rates of coronavirus infections and deaths and was the first to face Tier 3 restrictions.

Police surround a man outside the Adelphi Hotel
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

Merseyside Police have said they would like to "thank the people of Liverpool for their patience" as they dealt with the group, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine said: “The vast majority of people in Merseyside have made huge sacrifices since March, missing weddings, funerals and family celebrations in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“We have seen infection rates driven down in Merseyside thanks to the commitment of so many people, and already more than 140,000 have taken part in a mass testing pilot here in Merseyside to help the national effort to protect life and get back to normality. They are a credit to this county.

The city centre of Liverpool was full of people today despite lockdown
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

“So it will be incredibly frustrating for all those people to see that a minority of selfish individuals chose to flout laws brought in to protect the lives of people across Merseyside, putting our communities and themselves at risk.

"More than 50,000 people have died with coronavirus in the UK and there is a responsibility on us all to do everything within our power to prevent more.

“We all want to get back to normality as soon as possible.

A line of police in the city centre of Liverpool
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

"But the actions of those people who gathered in Liverpool today risk delaying that return and prolonging the suffering of so many.”

A dispersal order was put in place today as officers expected the unlawful gathering to take place.

Chief Supt Waine added: “This pandemic has, understandably, left many fearful of contracting and passing on coronavirus.

Police broke up the crowds in the city
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

"The sight of a large group in the city centre will alarm many who are now well aware of the risk large groups can pose to the spreading of this virus.

“We introduced a Section 34 Dispersal Zone in the city centre, and deployed significant resources into the city to ensure we could deal with this gathering, encouraging those involved to disperse and taking enforcement action against those committing flagrant breaches of covid legislation – particularly those suspected to have organised the gathering."

He added: "Their actions have posed a significant risk to public health, and we will continue to study CCTV and bodycam to identify offenders and bring them to justice.

“We have arrested 15 people so far and dispersed many more.

One man is surrounded by police in Liverpool
(Image: Alamy Live News.)

"Our officers – deployed to encourage people to do the right thing and to carry our enforcement to protect the public – have been subjected to mindless abuse from many of those gathered, but continued to carry out their duties with complete professionalism.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the public, our partners, NHS staff, emergency services and our own frontline officers, who are doing all they can to help protect us all.

Another man is seen on the ground during the protest
(Image: Alamy Live News.)

“I know the vast majority of the public will support us as we continue to take action against those who choose to deliberately break the law.”

Protests have also taken place in Bournemouth, Glasgow and London's Hyde Park.