Police out in force as anti-vaccine protesters descend on city pub
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
Police are lining the streets around a Norwich pub as anti-vaccine protesters gather to oppose its Covid rules.
A group that includes Piers Corbyn, brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, planned the protest weeks in advance.
Around 80 to 120 people gathered at All Saints Green near John Lewis on Tuesday lunchtime with placards including 'Stop believing the lies and brainwashing' and 'stop medical apartheid'.
The protest was also aimed at the Murderers pub which hit the headlines after landlord Phil Cutter said punters needed to prove they had received a negative test or have had at least one jab a minimum of two weeks before being allowed in.
Mr Cutter's stance has proved controversial and has incurred the wrath of online commenters - some of whom have sent him vile personal abuse.
But the pub has been supported by customers and some high profile backers including former Norwich City player Iwan Roberts.
“Phil is a good bloke and The Murderers is a very good, popular pub in the heart of Norwich City centre,” he tweeted.
“If people have the right to choose whether to have the vaccine or not then surely he’s the right to refuse them entry after all it’s his pub.”
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Mr Corbyn, who admitted to never having visited the Timber Hill pub in the past, said that the restrictions not only affected him but “affected everyone”.
Mr Cutter said: “I believe everyone should have the right to their own opinion and they have their right to protest.
“I do feel terrible about how the protest will impact the other businesses in the Hill though.”
Protester Jeff Wyatt compared the lockdown measures to Nazi Germany and called people sheep for following the government guidelines.
One person shouted choice language at the protesters while passing by, and a few others sat around listening in with exasperated looks.
And the occupants of the house overlooking the green put up pro-vaccine signs in response to the protest with one saying 'vaccines are good'.
An international nurse, who did not wish to be named but stood to watch the protest said: “This angers me so much. We have all worked so hard over the last 18 months so it is just so frustrating to hear.
“I understand they want freedom but we have to try and keep things safe. We have seen that the vaccine is working and has reduced the number of people in hospital with Covid.”
Former city councillor Nigel Utton was among those in attendance.
The protesters then marched down to The Murderers from All Saints Green where they gathered for more speeches.
Nobody from the pub came out but the windows of the flat above were open - with loud Disney songs blaring out such as Hakuna Matata, the Bear Necessities and A Whole New World.
Protesters then marched down towards London Street, stopping outside Kinki Boutique.
There were plenty of comments from passers by as they marched, including shouts of “rubbish” and “pathetic”.