Anti-lockdown mass gathering planned to take place this weekend in Brighton
Police prepared to break up the protests and are urging the public not to attend
Flyers for anti-lockdown protests have been circulating on social media for around 60 locations, including Brighton Beach and Bevendean Downs.
Police are unsure of how seriously to take the flyers, but have said that they are prepared to break up these protests and are warning the public not to attend.
The flyers are believed to be produced by the UK Freedom Movement, an anti-vaxxer group who believe lockdown is unlawful. There are concerns these events could be exploited by the far right.
The flyers encourage attendees to “bring a picnic” and “some music”, but they may not be having as much fun as planned.
Rules of lockdown state no mass gatherings are allowed. People are now only permitted to see one person from outside their household at a time, and it must be outdoors, keeping a two metre distance.
The Daily Mail states: “Many of the group organisers appear to be conspiracy theorists who question how serious a threat coronavirus poses, and are angry at the imposition of lockdown rules”.
Sussex Police have said: “We are aware of a planned mass gathering in Brighton this Saturday (16 May).”
“While, under normal circumstances, we fully support the right to protest peacefully; during the current pandemic this right is superseded by the right to life in line with the new public health regulations. Our over-riding aim is to protect and keep people safe.”
“As part of the new regulations, public gatherings of more than two people who don’t live together are banned. Exceptions include funerals attended by immediate family members or people working together who cannot work from home.”
“We will continue our policing approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging and only as an absolute last resort will we enforce. We do not want to criminalise people unnecessarily; we appreciate the pressures that the public are facing, but we will use our powers if necessary.”
“Anyone planning or promoting protests should be aware that if these activities result in protest activity, any participants may make themselves liable to police engagement and enforcement.”