What happened at yesterday’s anti-lockdown rally in Manchester?

Hundreds gathered in Piccadilly Gardens on Sunday afternoon to protest the national lockdown in England.

The crowd had congregated to voice their discontent over the Government’s decision to reimpose social restrictions – with attendees suggesting the impacts of the virus were overstated and therefore required no intervention. 

Anti-lockdown, anti-mask, anti-vaccine and anti-establishment chants were voiced throughout – with the prevailing narrative being a “desire for freedom”.

One woman holding a sign that read ‘I need to tell my grandchildren I did not stay silent’ said: “There is a bigger agenda, the end game, who knows we are all guessing but it is coming.

“It is coming with the track and trace, next it will be the vaccine obviously, we will be like robots in the next ten years.”

Another man compared the government to “Nazism”.

Many protestors claimed to have been defying government rules since the start of the pandemic with no consequences.

No-one that I spoke to claimed that the virus did not exist, but rather suggested it was no different to a common viral infection, and that the country should not shut down because of it.

Many protestors expressed frustration with authorities (refusing to announce the final destination of their march as they believed the police would be waiting for them) and also pointed fingers of blame in the direction of the ‘sheep’ following the lockdown rules.

Anyone wearing masks at the rally were urged to “remove them or leave.”

Greater Manchester Police officially issued a dispersal order at 6.45pm – making gathering in the area a criminal offence.

The statement read: “GMP would also like to use this opportunity to remind members of the public that under the national covid-19 restrictions, gatherings of more than two people are unlawful.

“We encourage people to comply with these restrictions, as we have throughout this public health crisis, to help keep themselves and others safe.”

Councillor Pat Karney called the gathering “disgraceful.”

Police also said that several officers were injured and have since pledged to fine the organiser of the protest £10,000.

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