HOME Secretary Priti Patel has blasted "senseless thugs" who pelted police with bottles at an anti-lockdown and vaccine passport protest.
Eight police officers were injured and some left with bloody faces after being pelted by missiles during yesterday's London rally.
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Two cops were taken to hospital and five people arrested after the Hyde Park violence following a march through central London.
Demonstrators held placards reading "Do Not Comply", "We Want Our Freedom", “Covid-19 Vaccine Holocaust”, and: “No To Vaccine Passports.”
A furious Ms Patel rounded on the "criminal" thugs who attacked Met officers as she shared shocking photos of injured frontline cops.
And she vowed to double prison sentences for yobs who attack emergency service workers following yesterday's disgraceful scenes.
Do you know the thugs who attacked police officers at yesterday's rally? Contact [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368
Ms Patel tweeted: "Our brave police are the best of us and should not be the target of senseless violence by a criminal minority for just doing their job.
"I am getting tough on these thugs and will be doubling the sentence for assault of an emergency worker.
"I wish the officers a speedy recovery."
The Home Secretary shared a series of pictures showing bloodied officers following Saturday's rally.
In one, a distressed officer with a cut to her head is helped by colleagues after being injured.
Another pic shows an officer with his face and fluorescent yellow police bib covered in blood from a head wound.
Following Saturday's clashes, in a now-deleted tweet, Met Police Chief Supt Roy Smith said: "What sort of reasonable human being grabs a police officer's baton and then appears to punch her in the face?
"There should be widespread condemnation of this violence towards officers yesterday."
Footage taking at the rally showed maskless demonstrators squaring up to officers and chanting: “Shame on you”.
As the officers attempt to move the crowd on, objects are thrown into the air and one protester lets off a canister of blue smoke.
Another picture shows a cop with a bloody face being supported by two other officers.
Meanwhile, another shocking clip shows officers crouching down to shield themselves as demonstrators hurl objects at them.
The Metropolitan Police tonight confirmed eight officers had been injured during the clashes.
A spokesperson said: "Eight officers were injured as they worked to disperse crowds in Hyde Park this evening.
"Missiles including bottles were thrown in small pockets of disorder. Two officers were taken to hospital.
"Thankfully, they are not believed to be seriously injured."
It came hours after crowds marched through the streets for the 'Unite for Freedom' rally against Covid restrictions, vaccines and passports.
Signs saying "freedom is non-negotiable" were held up as people let off brightly coloured smoke flares.
And activists carried giant inflatable syringes to fight against what they call "coerced vaccinations" – with not a single face mask in sight.
Among them was ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers, who has organised and attended several Covid hoax marches.
The mob ignored police warnings not to gather in large groups to make their way through the capital.
Cops have vowed to crack down on anti-social behaviour at hotspots over the second weekend of freedom as temperatures hit 20C.
The protest organisers had urged participants to "make as much noise as possible" during the rally but to "avoid making a crowd".
However, they also encouraged people to "link arms if the police tried to intervene".
Their aim is to fight against all coronavirus precautions and "no new normal".
There appeared to be no social distancing during the event as thousands stood shoulder to shoulder.
The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter: "We have a policing operation in central London today as a result of a number of demonstrations.
"Anyone coming into London for a protest must make sure their gathering is lawful, with a risk assessment carried out by the organiser.
"Officers are on site and are engaging with those taking part."
The demonstrators were challenging lockdown measures, despite many already being lifted thanks to the UK's world-beating vaccination programme.
Half of Brits – more than 33.4million – have now had their life-saving Covid jab.
Pubs, restaurants and gyms reopened on April 12, along with zoos, theme parks and hairdressers.
Lockdown restrictions are set to ease further on May 17, allowing Brits to enjoy food and a pint indoors.
And it is hoped all restrictions should be lifted on June 21.
The Government is said to want Covid passports up and running by May 17, when foreign travel resumes, to allow holidaymakers to avoid quarantine.
But Britain's equalities watchdog has warned such measures could be unlawful and create a "two-tier society" which discriminates against the poor, migrants and ethnic minorities.
The controversial idea is one of the key reasons for yesterday's protest.
Not only could the "passports" help Brits go on summer holidays, but they are being proposed to allow people to attend large sporting events, workplaces and even the pub.
Ministers have already confirmed a traffic light system, which will use a three-colour guide to allow Brits to return to some countries this summer.
This will put countries on a green, amber or red list depending on the risk they pose in regard to their Covid situation abroad.
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