Piers Corbyn leads coronavirus sceptics protest in Norwich
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
High profile coronavirus sceptic Piers Corbyn was among protesters against pandemic restrictions who staged a demonstration in Norwich.
Demonstrators wielding placards gathered at the Haymarket on Gentleman’s Walk in the city centre at shortly after midday on Thursday.
A crowd of about 50 people took part in the event that is part of a series of 27 protests being held throughout September in towns and cities across the UK - dubbed the ‘Covid-19 Truth Tour’.
The protestor’s banners and placards included messages against coronavirus restrictions, including face masks, with slogans including ‘Choose facts over fear’.
Leaflets handed out by protesters included claims that coronavirus is a hoax as well as anti-vaccines and anti-5G messages.
Two people were arrested and three were reported for offences following the gathering.
A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of common assault for allegedly coughing in a person’s face while a 37-year-old woman was arrested after refusing to provide her details to police.
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Three men have been reported for the offence of organising a gathering, in breach of the Health Protection Regulations.
Piers Corbyn, the older brother of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and a prominent Covid-19 sceptic, addressed the crowd stating “yesterday’s conspiracy theory is today’s truth,” to cheers and applause.
Leading the crowd in a chant of “no more lockdown - save lives”, he added: “Speaking the truth is a revolutionary act.”
The 73-year-old last month became one of the first people to receive a £10,000 fixed penalty under new coronavirus laws restricting public gatherings of more than 30 people after he addressed a similar rally in Trafalgar Square.
Sarah Phillips, one of those protesting, said: “We are defending freedom and the right to tell the truth. Covid has a 99.9pc survival rate yet we are being forced to obey restrictions that are being imposed against our will.”
The protest led to a backlash from some with some passers-by arguing that it should not be taking place.
Severina Richards, a health care assistant at a local care home, said: “I appreciate everyone has the right to protest and freedom of speech but when a large group of people are protesting without masks or social distancing and while I was there nine police officers attended, it makes me and fellow health care works feel like we are being ignored even more than we already feel.
“People like that don’t realise everything we have to deal with in health care, we are all over worked, underpaid, exhausted, under constant scrutiny from higher up, missing our loved ones. Many are new to the industry like me and having to deal with the passing of people often right in front of us, then having to get their bodies ready for families to see or to go to the funeral homes. This is by far the hardest job I’ve ever done but I’m proud of it.”
She added: “I wear a mask for 12 hours a day everyday at work, yes I don’t like having to wear one while I’m off work but I do it because it’s the right thing to do and if everyone listened to the rules we could be further along in the recovery of lockdown.”
Norwich Policing Commander, Superintendent Terry Lordan, said: “We’ve taken action to disperse the group making two arrests and reporting three people for offences. We all have a role to play in keeping Norwich and the rest of our county safe by stopping the spread of Covid-19.
“We’d ask you to take personal responsibility so that our involvement happens only when required. We will take action against those who don’t listen, as today has demonstrated.”