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Reactionary protest says no to Covid-19 safety measures

This article is over 3 years, 8 months old
A protest in London demanded ‘freedom’ but it gave the far right an opportunity to organise, says Isabel Ringrose
Issue 2720
Anti-lockdown protesters in Trafalgar Square last Saturday
Anti-lockdown protesters in Trafalgar Square last Saturday (Pic: PA)

Around 10,000 anti‑lockdown protesters gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square last Saturday.

The event was hosted by “Unite For Freedom”. It said its aim was to call for the repeal of the Coronavirus Act because of the power that it gives to the government.

The protest attracted far right supporters, including a group of fascists from the For Britain group.

Individuals from the fascist fake Yellow Vest groups that sprung up in 2019 were there too.

One participant ­brandished the flag of the British Union of Fascists.

The Polish hard right Wolnosc party also sent a ­delegation with flags.

There were also Covid‑19 sceptics and those who believe the virus was created in a lab or is no worse than the flu.

They demanded an end to government health measures, mask-wearing and vaccines, claiming the virus is a “hoax”.

Some also advocated 5G and QAnon far right theories.

David Icke, one of the organisers, told the police in a speech that they were “enforcing fascism that your own children will have to live with”.

Icke is banned from Australia for Holocaust denial and has said the Rothschilds are behind, or helped plan, the Covid outbreak.

“Anti-establishment” speeches demanded the right to catch coronavirus without state interference.


Speakers also said the NHS Test and Trace system is an attempt to monitor people.

One called for “no more lockdowns, no to vaccines and no to government lies”. A similar, even more ­threatening, demonstration took place last Saturday in Berlin, Germany.

An estimated 38,000 people gathered and hundreds of far right protesters also tried to storm the Reichstag—Germany’s federal parliament.

The demonstrations in Britain are emerging out of the fragmentation of ­support for the Tories and Boris Johnson.

Unlike in the US, where such mobilisations boost Donald Trump, in Britain Johnson is a hate figure for the hard right.

The crisis of the Tories means there are many people bitterly angry with the system.

And it is right to say that the Tories don’t act to protect the interests of ordinary people.

Unfortunately when people look to conspiratorial explanations for the system’s failure, they can provide an audience for the far right.

Piers Corbyn, another organiser of the event, has been fined £10,000 for organising a gathering of more than 30 people.

Fining him will not stop such protests.

The left needs to ­organise resistance to the Tories, racism and the far right.

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