A filmmaker based in France has sent us some highly professional footage she recorded at last Saturday’s anti-Health Pass protest in Paris, featuring lots of vox pops with the protestors. The reaction of the French riot police to the peaceful protestors is extremely aggressive, reminiscent of the Met’s Territorial Support Group. Hats off to these brave men and women standing up for their civil liberties.
Parents who are considering demonstrating against the vaccination of their healthy teenage children outside their local school’s gates may have to think twice, with headteachers having been told to call the police if ‘anti-vaxxers’ plan protests near their sites. The Telegraph has the story.
The U.K. Health Security Agency has now issued guidance to headteachers who believe protests could be held outside their school over participation in the vaccination programme, advising them to contact police to help manage the situation.
The agency said it was aware some schools had received campaign letters and emails with “misinformation” about the vaccine programme, after ministers confirmed the roll-out.
Three million 12 to 15 year-olds across the U.K. will be eligible, and the programme is expected to be delivered primarily within schools.
In new guidance, the agency said it knew of schools seeking advice on how to handle protests, and suggested they get in touch with the School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS) team at the “first opportunity” to understand “what security planning they have in place”.
“In the event of a protest or disruptive activity outside a school, or if schools know a protest is planned, they should alert the SAIS provider, local authority and police contacts to discuss the best way to manage the situation,” the guidance added.
Heads and teachers have also been advised “not to engage directly” with misinformation campaigns about the vaccine, but should “acknowledge receipt of concerns” and “refer to the latest scientific guidance on the issue” if necessary.
It comes as NHS England said its objective was to vaccinate children as “quickly as is safe and practical, with the majority of school visits completed and vaccinations administered before October half term”.
Any child who hasn’t received their dose within those five weeks should have the date of their vaccination confirmed, a letter sent on Wednesday to providers stated.
The programme should be ready to start administering jabs “no later” than Wednesday September 22nd, it added.
It is understood that the Department of Health and Social care is also drawing resources which will be issued to local authorities and schools imminently on how to handle potential protests.
Dr. Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy Director of the Covid vaccination programme, said: “It is completely unacceptable for anyone involved in administering the Covid vaccine to be subjected to verbal abuse or violence, and we will be working with local partners to ensure that children, teachers and vaccinators are safe while carrying out these life-saving vaccinations.”
NHS England is expected to advise SAIS teams to follow that guidance, which is likely to reflect similar instructions issued earlier in the year on how to deal with violence, threats and abuse at vaccination sites.
Worth reading in full.
One of the organisers of a recent anti-lockdown protest in Sydney has been sentenced to a maximum of eight months in prison for helping to plan an “unauthorised” demonstration and for breaking other lockdown-related rules. He will serve a minimum of three months in prison. The Guardian has the story.
Anthony Khallouf, 29, one of the organisers of last month’s anti-lockdown protests and a key figurehead in the broader movement surrounding it, was arrested by police in Sydney on Thursday after travelling from Queensland in breach of public health orders.
Khallouf appeared in Hornsby local court on Friday, charged with breaches of public health orders, including travelling from Queensland to Sydney and his involvement in planning an unauthorised protest for this weekend.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of not complying with a direction relating to Covid, encouraging the commission of crimes, and false representation resulting in a police investigation.
New South Wales police said in a statement on Friday afternoon that he was sentenced to a maximum of eight months in prison, with a non-parole period of three months.
Khallouf is the founder of Australians vs The Agenda, one of the larger anti-lockdown groups with more than 12,000 followers on Telegram. Originally from Victoria, last year he was charged with incitement for allegedly helping to organise a protest in Melbourne.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Damien Cave writes in the New York Times on Australia’s reliance on quarantine infrastructure as a long-term answer to Covid.
The problem… is that even humane quarantine amounts to a forced retreat. The decisions made by governments about who poses a risk are rarely politics-free, and frequently go beyond medicine to fears shaped by emotions and biases.
Also worth reading in full.
Following reports of the Australian army being deployed to ensure citizens are abiding by strict lockdown rules, an elderly Sydney resident has written to the Australian about being arrested for exercising near her home. Police officers interpreted this as an offence because the resident, a widow, was wearing a sign and walking in an area she rarely visited. Her letter, republished below, highlights the lengths to which the Australian authorities are going to snuff out the faintest flickers of protest.
I am a 78 year-old widow who chose to exercise in the Sydney central business district (CBD) on Saturday. I wore a sign saying: “Not happy, Gladys.” I was alone, I am fully vaccinated and I was wearing a mask.
I was stopped by police and asked what I was doing. I said I was exercising within 10km of my home. They told me I was not allowed to wear a sign while exercising. Both they and I were very respectful but I was arrested on the grounds that, as I did not normally exercise in the CBD, and was wearing a sign, I was protesting and not exercising.
This is not the country that I grew up in. And the really sad thing is that there will be so many who have been intimidated into cringing cowardice and who will just say of me: “Stupid old biddy, serves her right for not just being obedient.”
Mary M. Ancich, Birchgrove, Queensland
Anti-lockdown protests across the world seem to be occurring both more regularly and on larger scales. Most recently, thousands have marched in major Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, against restrictive measures, with more than half of Australians currently under lockdown.
After the protests had ended, the New South Wales Police Minister, David Elliott, issued a stern warning to all who marched – not just the few who turned violent. He announced the formation of “Strike Force Seasoned, which will see 22 detectives work from now until whenever it concludes identifying as many people as possible who attended today’s incident and have them charged”. He went on:
I’m hoping that we issue 3,500 infringement notices, I’m hoping that we have people before the court, and I really hope that we can get some charges and convictions out of today’s work by the New South Wales Police. It’s essential for people to get the message. And to those that are calling for it to occur again next week, look out because these 400 officers will turn to 4,000 if needs be.
The Guardian has more.
Thousands of angry, unmasked people marched through the Sydney central business district on Saturday afternoon demanding an end to the city’s lockdown, which is entering its fifth week.[David] Elliott said 57 people were arrested and several police officers had been assaulted.
“If we don’t see a [Covid] spike in the areas these protesters came from in the next week I’ll be very, very surprised,” Elliott said.
“It was just a whole lot of halfwits.”
Demonstrators broke through barriers in the Sydney CBD and threw plastic bottles at police.
Similar scenes unfolded in Melbourne and Adelaide, which are both in lockdown, and Brisbane, which is not.
As demonstrators were gathering in Sydney, the New South Wales Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, revealed a record number of new coronavirus cases had been detected – 163 in the previous 24 hours – and pleaded with people to stay at home. …
Hazzard condemned the planned protests as “really silly” on Saturday morning.
“We live in a democracy and normally I am certainly one who supports people’s rights to protest… but at the present time we’ve got cases going through the roof and we have people thinking that’s OK to get out there and possibly be close to each other at a demonstration.” …
In Melbourne, thousands of protesters turned out in the central business district chanting “freedom”. …
Protesters held banners, including one that read: “This is not about a virus it’s about total Government control of the people.”
The protest was brought to a violent end by police. An AAP photographer wearing visible press accreditation was pepper sprayed as police cleared the rally, as were other photographers.
The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, had labelled the idea of protesting against the lockdown as “ridiculous”.
“Protest against this virus by staying at home, following the rules and getting out of lockdown,” he said. …
A car rally is also planned for locked-down Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, with police warning they will make arrests over unlawful activity.
Worth reading in full.
The protest isn’t over in London. Today, tens of thousands of people have turned out to a party to demonstrate against the Government’s attack on the live music industry through the imposition of numerous lockdowns and the continuation of social distancing measures. The MailOnline has the story.
Crowds blocked Regent Street during the FreedomToDance march organised by Save Our Scene, demonstrating against the ongoing Covid restrictions that are keeping nightclubs and music venues closed in order to stop the spread of the virus.
The lively protest saw open-sided trucks rigged with speakers providing a mobile club atmosphere for the punters as they poured out onto the streets without masks to protest against coronavirus restrictions on nightlife.
Young protestors were seen puffing on balloons as they walked along in the festival-feel crowd on one of London’s busiest shopping streets.
Others were seen brandishing signs reading “let the music play”, “music is medicine” and “everybody’s free to feel good, but not dance”.
The results from 10 Government-led trial events were recently released and identified only 28 positive Covid test results among 58,000 participants. So when will the Government do as these protesters ask and “let the music play”?
The MailOnline report is worth reading in full.
A huge crowd has descended on central London today to make their feelings known to the Government about the endless restrictions we have been living under since March last year. They are also calling for Matt Hancock to resign following revelations that he kissed an aide despite regulations banning intimate contact being in force at the time. MailOnline has the story.
Tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protestors marched in central London today calling for freedom and an end to COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
Maskless anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters were seen marching along Oxford Street in central London on Saturday as they called for the end to all Covid regulations after Freedom Day was delayed from June 21st.
As well as demanding the end to Covid lockdown rules, protestors also brandished placards that demanded police “arrest Matt Hancock” after he was caught breaching Covid safety regulations by kissing his married aide.
The crowds of protestors marched through Oxford Street, Regent Street, Hyde Park and Northumberland Avenue as they held placards reading “freedom is not for trade”, “no to Covid vaccine” and “no to Covid passport”.
If you’re there, why not send us your photos.
Read MailOnline‘s report in full here.
Stop Press: BBC News has actually covered the protest, although it describes the number of protestors as “thousands” and is at pains to point out that the numbers aren’t just made up by anti-lockdown protestors: “Whether it was austerity or Palestine, lockdown or the NHS, campaigners of all ages and backgrounds wanted to make their voices heard today.”
Protesters have gathered in London today to demonstrate against the Government’s delay to the lifting of lockdown restrictions. People held signs reading “Lockdown is a crime against humanity” and “Your obedience is prolonging this nightmare”. Eight arrests have been made at the protest, according to the Metropolitan Police.
The MailOnline has more.
Maskless anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters have clashed with police in central London as they demonstrate against the delay of “Freedom Day” by blocking roads and hugging strangers in defiance of Covid rules…
Protestors offering “free hugs” and demanding an end to all Covid restrictions held signs reading “your obedience is prolonging this nightmare” and “our kids aren’t lab rats” as they marched through the streets…
Loud horns blown by the protestors were seen to spook a group of half-a-dozen police horses who had been drafted in to help control the crowd in Parliament Square.
The protest comes as Boris Johnson seemed to dismiss the prospect of easing the remaining coronavirus rules early, as he refused to rule out future lockdowns. He warned the nation should brace for a ‘rough winter’ whilst visiting a laboratory in Hertfordshire today.
The Prime Minister has delayed ‘Freedom Day’ by four weeks to July 19th – but a two-week review will take place on July 5th to see if the return to normal can be moved forward. Mr Johnson said ‘Delta’ variant cases, hospitalisations and admissions to intensive care are still rising and the country must therefore be ‘cautious’.
Worth reading in full.
Unlike the last anti-lockdown protest, Saturday’s Unite for Freedom rally has actually received some media coverage. This has, of course, focussed on anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. Protesters held signs reading: “My body, my choice”, “we do not consent” and “you have no power over us”. The Met, concerned also about a protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill taking place at the same time, “urged people to comply with the restrictions that apply to large gatherings”.
The MailOnline has more (although it smeared the protestors as anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists in its headline).
[Those gathered] protested [in part] against the idea of vaccine passports.
It is thought many of the crowd travelled from outside of the capital to take part in the gathering.
Several people set off smoke bombs and one launched a firework.
One man, who did not give his name, told the PA news agency he had come to the capital “because I want to be free and I want you to be free and the Government are lying to us”.
Another said she had attended because the press “are lying to us”.
By lunchtime, the crowd had started to disperse and head to Whitehall, with some heading to Trafalgar Square.
Pictures showed a London bus covered in anti-vaccination stickers.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: The Guardian actually ran a fairly balanced report about the occupation of Westfield by the protestors. The march, which began in Parliament Square, snaked all the way to Shepherd’s Bush and beyond to Acton.
Hundreds of anti-vaccine passport protesters invaded the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush on Saturday evening at the culmination of a mass march that drew many thousands and snaked miles through central and west London.
There were tussles with police who tried to block access through one entrance to the shopping centre at about 6pm, before protesters quickly realised that another door just yards away was unguarded.
Hundreds made it into the shopping centre where they stayed for about half an hour chanting “no more lockdowns” and “take your freedom back” before they were cleared by police with batons drawn, although without scenes of violence.
Worth reading in full.
A Freedom of Information request has confirmed that zero prosecutions have been made successfully under the Coronavirus Act. The request asked: “Since its inception – how many prosecutions have been made successfully under Coronavirus Act?” The response, given on Monday by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), reads as follows:
Since the CPS started its review on finalised cases charged under the Coronavirus Act 2020 (the Act) in April 2020 and up until February 2021, we found that all offences charged under the Act were incorrectly charged, and therefore discontinued because there was insufficient evidence to prove the offences under the Act. There were no cases where a suspect was convicted under the Act as of February 2021.
In April, the Independent reported on the “embarrassment” caused to the justice system by incorrect prosecutions made under the Coronavirus Act and the Health Protection Regulations.
Every one of the 232 prosecutions brought under the Coronavirus Act was incorrect, with its misuse described as an “embarrassment” to the justice system. [The figure will, of course, have gotten much higher.]
A further 127 wrongful charges were brought under the Health Protection Regulations, which were created to enforce the first nationwide lockdown in March 2020 and have been changed numerous times for different restrictions.
They represent around 12% of prosecutions under the law, which is more commonly enforced by police using fines…
The Liberty human rights group called for the Government to support people to follow health guidance rather than having a “relentless focus on enforcement”…[Director Gracie Bradley said:] “It’s… impossible to know how many unlawful fines have already been paid by people too afraid to challenge them – the Government must urgently introduce a right to appeal fines. Frequent and high-profile instances of arbitrary and wrongful enforcement have fanned the flames of mistrust.”
The CPS figures only cover finalised cases in England and Wales, and more prosecutions are currently progressing through the courts.
Reports issued by parliament’s Home Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights had called for mistakes by police to stop in April, warning of the potential for miscarriages of justice and punishment “without any legal basis”.
MPs said that some police officers appeared to be enforcing Government guidance rather than the law, and that differences between the two were causing confusion among the public and law enforcement…
The vast majority of wrongful prosecutions were brought by police and withdrawn by the CPS before people were convicted, but 56 cases had to be returned to court to be quashed.
They include a woman who was fined £660 for a crime she had not committed, five days after the Coronavirus Act became law last March.
It gives police the power to direct “potentially infectious persons” to a place suitable for screening and assessment, and take them by force if they refuse.
The law makes it a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 to refuse a direction, escape or provide false information.
Isn’t it about time the Act was repealed?
The Independent report is worth reading in full.