Police have arrested 155 people for offences including breaching coronavirus regulations, assaulting a police officer and possession of drugs following anti-lockdown protests in central London.

The Metropolitan Police said it used early intervention methods to disperse the illegal gatherings, including intercepting coachloads of demonstrators as they came into the capital.

The force said those who did not turn back and go home were arrested or issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell, policing commander for the event, said it was a "challenging day" for officers and thanked them for their work, adding: "On Friday, we made it very clear how we would police this event, warning those looking to attend that they risked facing enforcement action if they attended a gathering in London.

Protesters hold up placards as they take part in an anti-lockdown protest against government restrictions

"Today's enforcement action is a direct result of those individuals deliberately breaking the law and at times, targeting our officers with aggression and causing disruption to the road network.

"Our policing plan will continue well into the evening and I would urge anyone who hasn't already dispersed to go home."

Earlier on Saturday, protesters were seen surrounding police officers and hurling smoke bombs in central London.

A police officer wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus covid-19 takes away a protester

The group broke through a police barrier in central London and are making their way down Oxford Street.

Daily Mirror journalist Matt Capon tweeted: "Pretty chaotic scenes. The police tried – and succeeded for a short time – in splitting up the crowds and ordering people to disperse.

"However, they've now formed up again and are now marching down Oxford Street."

A large group of demonstrators chanting "freedom" left Hyde Park near Marble Arch and marched along a road parallel to Oxford Street.

The Metropolitan Police had earlier warned people to avoid the rally.