Thousands of demonstrators marched through London’s streets on Saturday in protest of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions and “vaccine passports.”
Demonstrators gathered at Parliament Square before moving through areas in central London including Oxford Street, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, and Hyde Park. The protest was largely peaceful but police said that “a small minority” of protesters threw objects at officers and a group of demonstrators briefly occupied Westfield shopping centre.
The “United For Freedom” March on Saturday was bigger than the previous protests against pandemic restrictions. Many have travelled from outside of London, with one group telling NTD News that they left home at 3 a.m. to join the rally.
Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “freedom” and “stand up” as they walked through central London for hours on end. Their placards ranged from “no to vaccine passports” and “our children deserve a future,” to “experimental COVID ‘vaccines’ kill” and “resist the Great Reset.”
“All the people here don’t necessarily say the COVID doesn’t exist. I know it exists,” a protester named Donna told NTD, referring to the disease caused by the virus. “I just don’t believe or agree with what the government is doing.”
Donna disagrees with the measures used to fight the pandemic, such as restrictive lockdowns and the rolling out of vaccines she believes haven’t been sufficiently tested.
Heritage Party leader and former London mayoral candidate David Kurten told NTD that in his opinion, the government didn’t have the right to impose lockdowns.
“They’re saying that they’re going to give back our freedom on June 21, but it’s not the government’s say,” he said. “It’s not theirs to take away in the first place.”
“If they don’t give it all back, which is [what] they’re indicating that they will do, I think we’re here to say we’re not going to accept that,” he added.
June 21 is the last date on the government’s road map to ending the lockdown. All legal restrictions are due to be lifted, but the government said the final decision will be made on June 14 as many worried that the emergence of the Indian variant may knock the plan off course.
Another demonstrator named Tony said that he had a business until it was forced to shut down during the pandemic. He now drives for a living.
“We were market traders. And during all this, when they started the lockdowns … we have to stop doing what we were doing. And as a result of that, I had to take something else. You know, I had to take another job,” he said.
“I’m now a driver. And I’d prefer to do what I like doing, but I can’t do what I like doing because of all this,” he said. “I probably won’t be able to do that for … God knows.”
Some people said they feared the newly developed vaccines may have side effects that are yet to be discovered, while others were not opposed to vaccines, but object to making them mandatory.
“I have all of my vaccinations. So do my children,” psychologist and lecturer Matthew Owens told NTD. “But vaccination by coercion—vaccine passports—is trampling on our human rights.”
Owens said people “may not agree on everything, [but] it’s your democratic right to exercise freedom of speech.”
“And I would fall in the Lord Sumption route, if you like, [to] entertain all ideas. It’s better to debate them than to shut people down,” he said.
Some protesters told NTD that they worry a vaccine passport system would erode people’s freedom and become something reminiscent of the “social credit” system in communist China.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on May 11 that the government will be “saying more later this month about exactly what the world will look like and what role there could be—if any—for certification and social distancing.”
Just after 6 p.m., a small group of people gathered outside of the Westfield shopping centre in London, chanting “shame on you” at police officers blocking the entrance. They found a different entrance shortly after and occupied the shopping centre for around 20 minutes before police ushered them out.
No arrests have been made but the Metropolitan police said a small number of officers were assaulted and an investigation is underway.
“A small ‘breakaway group’ entered the Westfield shopping centre,” Chief Superintendent Roy Smith said in a statement. “Met officers responded robustly and with professionalism to prevent greater numbers from accessing the shopping centre and to swiftly remove those protesters who were inside. We worked closely with security staff at the shopping centre so that it could safely remain open.”
“A small number of officers were assaulted outside the shopping centre,” he added. “A full investigation is under way which will include an extensive review of CCTV footage to identify anyone who committed criminal offences.”
NTD reporter Jane Werrell contributed to this report.