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Protestors gather in Belfast city centre in opposition to Covid-19 restrictions

  • Department of Health reports a further 1,520 positive cases of Covid-19 on Saturday
  • One patient dies after testing positive for the virus
  • Health officials appeal to those who have not yet received the vaccine to book before next week

Hundreds of people took part in a ‘freedom march’ in Belfast city centre on Saturday to protest against Covid-19 restrictions, virus passports and masks.

Men, women and children all took part in the procession with music being played such as Redemption Song by Bob Marley and We Don’t Need No Education by Pink Floyd with protesters changing the lyrics to “Hey Boris, leave our kids alone.”

The marchers, who paraded from the city centre to Botanic Gardens, were also opposing Covid-19 vaccinations.

PSNI Superintendent Nigel Henry said police were in attendance at the notified procession in the vicinity of Belfast City Hall.

“Officers have engaged with those present, including the organiser, in relation to the significant volume of people in attendance - some of whom were on the road - to ensure public safety,” he continued.

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“Police will continue to monitor the situation this afternoon.

“We will review footage gathered and consider any suspected breaches of the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998.”

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The Freedom NI parade and march from Belfast City Hall to Botanic Gardens. Photograph by Declan Roughan/Presseye.

The Freedom NI parade and march from Belfast City Hall to Botanic Gardens. Photograph by Declan Roughan/Presseye.

Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The Freedom NI parade and march from Belfast City Hall to Botanic Gardens. Photograph by Declan Roughan/Presseye.

One protestor who refused to identify himself stated: “We’re here for people’s freedom because we’re protesting against the government’s vaccination policy.”

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has previously referred to anti-lockdown conspiracy theorists as “the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms… It’s all bizarre and irresponsible”.

The rally came as the Department of Health reported a further 1,520 positive cases of Covid-19.

One further death of a patient who had previously tested positive for the virus has also been notified.

There were 163 Covid patients in hospital on Saturday morning, with 16 in intensive care.

In total, 2,200,125 vaccines have been administered.

Meanwhile, health officials in Northern Ireland have appealed to people who have not yet received their first jab to book in before next week.

Regional vaccination centres will stop giving first doses of Covid-19 jabs on Saturday, July 31.

There are a number of vaccination centres across Northern Ireland, including the SSE Arena, the South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon and Omagh Leisure Centre.


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