On Wednesday afternoon, two anti-lockdown protests, one after the other, took place in Nottingham’s Old Market Square. Protestors were vocalising their unhappiness with the growing Coronavirus restrictions and “rushed” vaccine trials.
It is estimated that at least 20 protestors attended each demonstration
Both protests took place outside the entrance of the Council House. The first began around 1pm and ended approximately 40 minutes later. The second began shortly after 2pm and protestors had dispersed by around 4pm.
It is estimated that at least 20 protestors attended each demonstration, but the exact number is unclear.
A variety of signs were deployed during each demonstration and there appeared to be a stockpile of them positioned by one of the Square’s stone lions.
One sign read: “Love not fear”. Another read: “BREATHE FREE”, a clear allusion to UK policy that stipulates face coverings must be worn in certain spaces.
Some attendees held English and British flags.
“I couldn’t believe what they were saying”
Heather Cox, a 21-year-old Nottingham Trent University student, witnessed the first protest. She says she was in “utter disbelief” at the scenes she saw unfold around her.
While waiting for a friend, Cox, who studies Information Systems, saw people with signs beginning to congregate. She then heard one of them talk through a megaphone about the need to “defy lockdown”.
“I couldn’t believe what they were saying”, explains Cox. “They were saying we shouldn’t wear masks and that we shouldn’t just listen to what the government is saying. They also said that the media is only showing Covid as bad and telling us we should all be afraid of it and not consider the other argument.
“The event made me feel annoyed, really. Especially when there’s so many people who have been putting so much effort into helping everyone and getting everything Covid safe.”
Many on-lookers were snapping pictures of the protests. Cox took some herself. But nothing could prepare her for a sight she would find particularly disturbing: a young girl holding a sign that read: “Common sense is the cure”.
Over the weekend, 18 people were arrested in central London after a rally turned violent
“I thought that was ridiculous,” Cox says. “Kids shouldn’t be dragged along to stuff like that. They need to be able to form their own opinions and not have them forced onto them. They’ve been taken to these protests but they won’t fully understand what they’re protesting for.”
Similar anti-lockdown demonstrations have recently been reported elsewhere. In Rome, far-right protestors clashed with police who eventually threw tear gas at the protestors. Over the weekend, 18 people were arrested in central London after a rally turned violent.
In the UK, it is possible for a person to be fined or arrested should they attend a protest. This is the case if the protest does not meet certain criteria.
More information on the criteria can be found here.
Images courtesy of Heather Cox. No changes were made to these images.
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