Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination activists rallied in multiple British cities against the vaccine passport initiative. In London, one of the speakers triggered a major controversy by likening NHS staff to Nazi doctors.
Thousands of people gathered at Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday for the ‘Freedom Rally’, to protest the restrictive measures introduced amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Demonstrators flooded almost the entire square, holding placards and banners reading: “No to forced testing” and “No to forced vaccination.”
Many activists went as far as accusing the government of “crimes against humanity,” while banners seen in the crowd ranged from 5G conspiracy theories to flags reading “Trump for 2024.”
Thousands pack Trafalgar Square for the “Worldwide Rally For Freedom” in London on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/O773ecrOq1
— WakeUpHumans (@Thunderace4) July 24, 2021
Though minor scuffles erupted on the sidelines of the event, resulting in several arrests, the rally was otherwise peaceful. The gathering was attended by controversial media personality Katie Hopkins, who just returned from Australia after her visa was canceled over a quarantine breach. Former TV presenter turned-conspiracy theorist David Icke was also present, as well as Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
London, England – Freedom Rallypic.twitter.com/T63nKm5JpI
— wlctv.ca (@wlctv_ca) July 24, 2021
One of the speakers, Kate Shemirani, a former nurse turned-anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist, triggered a major controversy, calling the vaccines “Satanic” and describing them as part of a larger surveillance scheme – while urging people to send her the names of doctors and nurses involved in the vaccination campaign.
At the Nuremberg trial the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung.
“If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus… and stand with us, the people,” she said, claiming that a group of lawyers is helping her collect the information.
Speaking at today’s anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown rally in London’s Trafalgar Square, former nurse Kate Shemirani – who was struck off in June – says Covid vaccines are “Satanic”, citing “the pattern 060606”. The graphine oxide single-molecule sheet “is a conductor”, she adds. pic.twitter.com/t40TAHjnRd
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) July 24, 2021
The video of her fierce speech quickly spread on social media, prompting an angry response from London Mayor Sadiq Khan. “I have raised it directly with the Met Police,” he said, while praising the healthcare specialists as “heroes of this pandemic.”
I can’t believe I’m tweeting this. As an ICU doctor who has given everything they have trying to save lives this makes me want to cry.
“Get their names, email them to me. At the Nuremberg trial the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung”. pic.twitter.com/9tZeqru1Vk
— Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden 💙 (@sbattrawden) July 24, 2021
“This is what NHS staff woke up to this morning. A rally talking about hanging doctors and nurses,” the NHS Million campaign said on Twitter, while calling on police to respond to the “hatred and violence towards our hard working NHS staff.”
This is what NHS staff woke up to this morning. A rally talking about hanging doctors and nurses. This has caused considerable distress amongst NHS staff.
If you’re still behind NHS staff please tweet with the hashtag #gotyourbackNHS.
Let’s show staff they are appreciated 🙏🏻 https://t.co/EZVJUHdQHg
— NHS Million 💙 (@NHSMillion) July 24, 2021
Elsewhere in the UK, protesters went beyond chanting provocative slogans. In Manchester, a group of anti-vaccination activists sought to storm a local Covid-19 testing center, forcing police to deploy additional guards to the facility.
The protests come in response to government plans to introduce vaccination passports. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that proof of vaccination will soon be required to enter nightclubs and other venues, which have just reopened this week. The announcement was met with widespread resentment and even angered some MPs, who vowed to vote against the measures.