Thousands of people took part in a march through central and west London on Saturday 29 May, resulting in the closure of Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush.
The marchers were protesting against the whole range of anti-Covid measures. This from one of their leaflets:
‘Behave as you did in 2019. Do not wear a mask. Boycott business enforcing the pointless rules. Refuse vaccination if you do not want it. Shop in the high street. Hug who you want to when you want to. See your elderly parents when you want to. Use cash! Refuse to be tracked’.
Another leaflet claimed: ‘There is no pandemic”.
When the march reached Shepherd’s Bush, hundreds of protesters entered Westfield shopping centre at about 6.00pm. While police blocked one entrance, they entered from another.
The Guardian newspaper reported:
‘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’.
Images above: Marchers walking through Notting Hill; speaking inside the Westfield centre at Shepherd’s Bush
“F*****g with the wrong generation”
Piers Corbyn, elder brother of Jeremy Corbyn, a conspiracy theorist who has campaigned against lockdowns and against vaccinations, addressed the crowd inside Westfield through a megaphone, saying:
“We’re here as free people, spending our time communicating, to prepare for the summer of discontent, where we’re going to organise in every community to prevent any more lockdowns. No more lockdowns!”
After being evicted from the Westfield shopping centre the protest headed down Goldhawk Rd. Barrister Ann Crighton, who got caught up in the crowd on her way home, told The Chsiwick Calendar:
“They were mainly young people. I saw one wearing a T shirt saying ‘Boris you’re f*****g with the wrong generation’ and another with the slogan ‘the only virus is the media’.”
The march was relatively peaceful she told us. As they headed towards Ravenscourt Park someone shouted “get it off” at a passerby wearing a mask and another shouted “don’t be ruled by them”.
“Please go away”
Actor Lucy Briers, who lives in Chiswick tweeted:
“Thanks for bringing a huge amount of people to my neighbourhood, which is very close to Hounslow, which is at present battling a huge rise in the Indian variant. I mean genius, really. Please go away and let my neighbourhood carry on the battle to keep Covid numbers down”.
On the same day, a senior manager in the NHS, Chris Hopson, NHS Providers chief executive, called for a “much better quality of debate” on the implications of easing lockdown fully. NHS staff are “going full pelt” he told the BBC, dealing with patients with complex needs who required longer stays in hospital because their earlier treatment had been delayed by the pandemic. The system does not have the capacity to cope with a significant increase in Covid patients, he warned.
The average number of Covid cases reported daily is slowing rising again and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the spread of the Indian variant could affect the timing of the last step in England’s roadmap out of lockdown on 21 June.
Latest Covid figures show that on 27 May 2021 the daily number of new people tested positive for COVID-19 in London was reported as 403. In the most recent week of complete data, 16 May 2021 – 22 May 2021, 1,976 people tested positive in London, a rate of 22 cases per 100,000 population.
NHS figures show that about five million people in England were waiting for surgery in March, the highest figure since modern records began.
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