POLICE have urged potential protest groups not to gather in the centre of Newcastle this weekend, due to ongoing Covid restrictions.

Northumbria Police put out the warning in the belief that various demonstrations may be in the pipeline for the city centre.

As a result, extra police presence is expected to be in place in likely meeting places over the weekend.

The force issued a statement reminding would-be protestors to heed public health advice.

Although it did not reveal the nature of potential rallies, the statement read: “We have become aware that a range of groups plan to gather to protest in the centre of Newcastle this weekend.

“We are taking this opportunity to remind people that protests are not exempt from the current Covid legislation.

“Such public gatherings remain unlawful due to the risk they pose to public safety.

“We recognise the right to protest is extremely important but this right has always had to be balanced against the rights of the wider community.

“We would therefore urge people to take heed of the regulations and Public Health advice.

“Anyone thinking of visiting the city centre to take part in protest activity should reconsider.

“The safety of everyone, including those participating in protests, other members of the public and our officers will always be our upmost priority.”

The statement concluded: “People can expect to see an increased presence from officers and we will deliver a proportionate policing response to any activity taking place.”

Politicians of various persuasions have called on the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to reconsider people's right to peacefully gather for lawful protest, in the wake of last weekend's chaos at the vigil in memory of ex-Durham University student, Sarah Everard, on Clapham Common, London.