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Coronavirus shutdown protest in Belfast a damp squib as fewer than 20 turn up at Ormeau Park

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Protesters in Ormeau Park on Saturday

Protesters in Ormeau Park on Saturday

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Protesters in Ormeau Park on Saturday

A weekend protest to demand an end to lockdown in Northern Ireland was attended by just a handful of people.

The so-called UK Freedom Movement circulated flyers on social media calling for people to gather en masse across the country to protest against what it called the "unlawful lockdown".

Despite the claims of a mass gathering, fewer than 20 people turned up to Ormeau Park on Saturday. No one appeared to have turned up for a planned protest at Millennium Park in Clarawood in east Belfast.

At Ormeau Park the group of around 15 people was outnumbered by the assembled journalists, photographers, cameramen and police.

After an hour of milling around and being shouted at by passers-by to "go home", people were asked to disperse by the PSNI. Several refused to move along and remonstrated with police before eventually leaving the park.

Although officers spoke to a number of the protesters and recorded footage of the incident, no arrests were made.

Elsewhere around the UK the protest was a flop in Leeds and Sheffield with nobody turning up. In London around 50 people gathered in Hyde Park.

Standing close together near Speaker's Corner, several held placards and banners including slogans like 'Freedom over fear' as police, including some on horseback, looked on. Officers issued 10 on-the-spot fines and made 19 arrests.

Piers Corbyn, brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was led away in handcuffs after showing up with a megaphone and proclaiming 5G and the coronavirus pandemic were linked.

Belfast Telegraph