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Relief after threatened mass gatherings at Norwich parks flop

PUBLISHED: 12:23 17 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:59 18 May 2020

Mass gatherings threatened at Eaton Park did not take place over the weekend. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mass gatherings threatened at Eaton Park did not take place over the weekend. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Threatened mass gatherings at two Norwich parks to defy lockdown rules fell flat - prompting relief from many people living in the city.

The proposed gathering were met with disgust by people on social media. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANThe proposed gathering were met with disgust by people on social media. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Posters from the ‘UK freedom movement’ circulated online during the week calling for mass gatherings at 60 UK locations, including Eaton Park and Catton Park at midday on Saturday, May 16.

People were encouraged to “bring a picnic” and “have some fun” in an attempt to show opposition to social distancing guidelines.

MORE: Prime minister admits new lockdown rules are ‘complex’

But in Norwich the protest did not materialise, with no sign of large groups reported in either park.

Posters from the 'UK Freedom Movement' failed to drum up support for an illegal mass gathering during lockdown at Eaton Park. Pic: Sonya Duncan.Posters from the 'UK Freedom Movement' failed to drum up support for an illegal mass gathering during lockdown at Eaton Park. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group on Norfolk County Council, said the idea was one of the most stupid things you could do and reported it instantly to the Norfolk Resilience Forum.

He said: “I am glad sense prevailed and hope it continues. People should stay away from anything like that and keep doing things you know are sensible and that protect public health. Taking part in any sort of mass gathering is the worst thing you could do for your health as well as for keeping the community together.”

Earlier in the week, the protest had attracted disgust and shock from social media users.

Kathryn Cook said: “As if this is happening in our wonderful park. Please don’t be a coviot and please don’t go along just to see how it pans out!!”

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Chris Stones said: “Did anyone turn up at that Eaton Park or Catton Park thing? If they did hope they were moved on!”

Bernadette Sanders said: “Am so sad to see lovely Eaton Park used for this rubbish [sic].”

Some 60 cities across the UK were targeted by the protest, including Leicester, Leeds and Liverpool.

MORE: ‘It’s a bit scary’ - Concerns in Norwich over easing of coronavirus lockdown

But the overwhelming majority of cities reported the protests never materialised, with people abiding to lockdown rules.

In London, however, about 50 people were gathered in Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park with placards.

Officers patrolled the protest and issued ten fines and made 19 arrests.


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