17 Aug 2022

Man arrested and penalty notices issued by police at anti-lockdown protest in Derry today

Local politician condemns those involved in the demonstration

One man was arrested and a number of fixed penalty notices were issued by police at an anti-lockdown protest in Derry today.

A small group of people took part in the Guildhall Square protest this afternoon.

Derry City and Strabane District Commander, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones, said a number of fixed penalty notices were issued at the event.

"One man was cautioned and another was arrested," he said.

“In ordinary times, police will work with organisers and protestors to facilitate lawful and peaceful protests, however, these are not ordinary times.

"The Health Protection Regulations are there to protect us all during this pandemic, particularly when there are increased restrictions in place.

"It is everyone’s responsibility to adhere to them to protect our society.”

Foyle SDLP MLA Sinead McLaughlin condemned those who took part in the protest.

"It is sad that a small minority of people are deluding themselves into believing that Covid-19 is not a real threat to their health, but their attempt to persuade others is worse than irresponsible," she said.

"It is encouraging people to take risks with their health and potentially exposing the most vulnerable people in society to an illness that can prove deadly and threatens ongoing harm through 'long-Covid'.

"I urge the sensible population of Derry and the north west to ignore the latest nonsense from the deniers, hoaxers and conspiracy theorists.

"Covid-19 is causing serious damage to the health, wellbeing and life expectancy of people here and elsewhere, but also to our economy.

"The best way of providing economic recovery is through taking the necessary steps to reduce the infection rate as fast as possible, so that people can safely and with confidence return to their use of the retail, leisure, hospitality and other businesses.

"It is not a choice between physical and economic health, but a matter of the two going together."

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