Two Occupy London activists have been arrested after they tried taking their May Day anti-workfare protests into a Zara shop and a McDonald's in London's Oxford Street, Sky News reporter Mark White said on Twitter.

An offshoot of the group, Occupy LSX, claimed that its members were stopped and searched on their way to Bond Street to take part in the anti-workfare actions.

"#OccupyLSX, on their way to Bond Street and Work Fare shops being stopped and searched," tweeted Jamie Kelsey-Fry, contributing editor of the New Internationalist magazine.

According to other reports, different groups dotted around the Bond Street area were trying to shut down shops in the heart of the West End. Police helicopters were deployed over the area.

Activists on Twitter were urged to write the name and contact number of a solicitor on their arms in case they were arrested. "At Bond St? Write on your arm: GBC legal support 07946541511 Solicitors ITN 02085227707 #boycottworkfare #ukuncut #occupymay #occupylondon," tweeted one group.

Earlier, police stood by to evict Occupy London's activists who erected tents in Trafalgar Square

Arguments between the police, heritage wardens and Occupy London emerged after security forces threatened protesters with arrest under bylaws forbidding tents being erected in Trafalgar Square, activists reported on Twitter.

Topshop was reportedly forced to shut down after a spontaneous demonstration broke out close to the shop.

The rally was held to highlight several disputes over public sector jobs, pay and pensions and concerns over government cuts.

One organiser said: "Attacks on the NHS, education, pensions, the civil service, local government, jobs both public and private sector, the disabled and women mean we have to fight back and say there is a different way forward."