Two days ago crowds of thousands brought Old Market Square and surrounding streets to halt as a number of different protests met in Nottingham city centre.
In the days leading up to the demonstrations it was reported that veteran Dean Cumberpatch was the main organiser for the protests when on 19th August Dean posted on YouTube outlining the planned events, alerting local police.
The plan ‘has to be a mass takeover of Nottingham’
Dean commented in the video that the protests were for ‘veterans and children and to bring awareness of the plight of veterans’, whilst raising awareness of ‘mental health, suicides’ and ‘child abuse grooming gangs’.
Dean also commented that the plan ‘has got to be a mass takeover of Nottingham,’ and has to ‘bring Nottingham to a standstill’.
Just two days later, thousands descended on Nottingham City centre, with Union Jacks and banners reading ‘War on P.T.S.D’ and ‘Children’s Lives Matter’ visible. Critics, however, have labelled the protest as far right, with the TUC suggesting they are ‘being heavily backed by Tommy Robinson’.
Nottinghamshire Police reported no arrests
One man was seen holding a Werwolf Resistance flag – an alleged Neo Nazi group in the UK who derive their name from a Nazi campaign during WW1. Another protestor was seen holding ‘God Bless Donald Trump’ sign.
Whilst there were far-right individuals and banners on display, the general atmosphere remained calm and non-violent. Nottinghamshire Police reported no arrests and said the protests went smoothly. Evidently, crowds thought a rarely raised issue had finally come to light and the crowds of thousands were happy to support it.
On the other side of fencing, a smaller Black Lives Matter movement had been organised as a counter-protest, arguing to read-between-the-lines to the far-right core of the Veterans & Children demonstration. Fencing put up by police separated the two groups as they made their journeys through Nottingham. A Pride Flag was passed over the fencing at one point, whilst a banner reading ‘Fascists Support BLM’ was also seen.
Police closed traffic to several main roads for safety and Nottingham City Transport redirect some bus routes
As both groups continued forward and crowds navigated the narrow streets of the city centre, social distancing was inevitably forgotten by both groups (though some distributed face masks). Flares were soon lit as the chorus of whistles and chanting faded due to sore throats, whilst speakers empowered those at the BLM protests.
Police closed traffic to several main roads for safety and Nottingham City Transport redirected some bus routes. There have been no reports of violence or clashes and there is clear police presence in and around the city. By 14:30 some roads had started to reopen as numbers began to drop.
Some have criticised attendees for protesting during the pandemic in the first place, yet it is clear people in Nottingham are strained by the recent months of uncertainty. Events today came just days after protests took place on Wednesday in response to a series of forthcoming redundancies announced by Nottingham City Council and protests last week during the A-level/GCSE fiasco.
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