IT WAS set to be a “mass gathering” fighting against the lockdown after flyers were sent across Southampton and Hampshire.

Daily Echo:

Police officers were scattered across Southampton Common on Saturday to ensure people were kept safe during the event, which was expected to involve picnics and live music.

But the gathering on Saturday, organised by the UK Freedom Movement, appeared to bring in around six protesters holding up two large banners.

Daily Echo:

The event is part of a UK-wide campaign against the coronavirus lockdown, which encourages people to “say no to the coronavirus bill”, “no to 5G” and “no to the unlawful lockdown”.

Signs that read ‘Fight to Freedom’ and ‘#WWG1WGA’ - which refers to an author who wrote a book on a “reality that has been hidden by the media” - were seen by people enjoying picnics across the park.

Daily Echo:

One protester from Southampton, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I turned up because I’ve really had enough, I feel that the media is scaremongering and the whole coronavirus thing has been blown out of context.

“People are saying that it was a Covid-19 death when they haven’t had the virus.

“My auntie struggled with cancer for four years, but on her death certificate, it was labelled Covid-19 but she didn’t have any symptoms or testing.

“Her husband was upset that his wife’s death was labelled with that - and this is just one case.”

Families were seen having picnics, playing sports and taking their dogs for walks throughout the day.

Daily Echo:

Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

Officers said they had walked around the park and had only seen a few taking part in the protest, including those the Daily Echo spoke to.

Another protestor said: “The coronavirus act could be a stepping stone to something worse in the future - a state where human rights are taken away from us, and we become a possession of the state.

Daily Echo:

Solent News & Photo Agency

“We are here to fight for our rights because we think the law legislation is absolutely going against our humanity.”

Others said people should follow the lockdown guidelines, which involves people keeping two metres apart.

One nearby resident said: “It’s not difficult to stay 2m away. If there is someone sat or stood in one place, go somewhere different. Do people really have to be told?”