Anti-lockdown protesters have swarmed Downing Street following reports the end of lockdown will be delayed by four weeks.
Hundreds of demonstrators descended on Westminster in the blazing sun on Monday amid reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson would announce that the 21 June "Freedom Day" would be postponed in the face of concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus.
Nightclub owners threatened to re-open on 21 June in protest at the government decision that would mean more lost revenue after 15 months of on-off lockdown measures.
Protesters chanted "shame on you" outside Downing Street on Monday afternoon in anger at the cabinet's reported decision.
— Steve Clegg (@SRC62) June 14, 2021
Actor and Reclaim UK party leader Laurence Fox posted an expletive-laden video from the protest, vowing to "shut this city down".
— Laurence Fox ✌🏼🇬🇧✌🏼 (@LozzaFox) June 14, 2021
Former Loaded editor and Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney was also in attendance.
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) June 14, 2021
Protesters tweeted their photos and urged the media to cover the event.
— Biffboff🌸 (@Biffboff2) June 14, 2021
— Robin Monotti 🌸 (@robinmonotti2) June 14, 2021
Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill said that his sector was mulling “every avenue” for fighting the decision, including legal challenges, and that some clubs were even thinking of opening on 21 June in defiance of the emergency laws.
Nightclubs are “getting to breaking point”, Kill told City A.M., adding that the mooted postponement was causing “panic and anxiety" in the trade.
“Night time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for over 15 months, many have not survived, some are on a financial cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and others have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship”, Kill said.
“Any delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in workforce leaving the sector, and customers who are starved of social engagement, attending illegal unregulated events in place of businesses that are well operated, licensed and regulated”.
Famed West End musical composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber has already vowed to reopen his theatres without social distancing rules on 21 June, with or without official permission.