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Hebden Bridge anti-lockdown protest kicks off social media storm

The protesters gathered on VE Day to urge the government to end lockdown

Protesters urging Government to end the lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis who gathered in a Calderdale town on the VE Day Bank Holiday are at the centre of a social media storm.
Hundreds of people have expressed anger on social media at the protest in Hebden Bridge, including many on a Facebook post, shared more than 900 times, by one of the protesters, Ralph Nimmann.
One placard pictured being held by one of the protesters in an accompanying photo stated: “Share love, germs, viruses and immunity. We are social animals.”
Those angered by their actions include ward councillor for the town, Coun Josh Fenton-Glynn (Lab, Calder) who tweeted last Saturday: “To the anti-lock down/vaccine protesters in Hebden yesterday, I’m not sure if I’m more angered by your arrogance thinking you know more than every scientist or your selfishness of prioritising you’re right to socialise over safety of front line workers who have to leave their homes.”


In his Facebook post, which included photographs show some of an estimated eight protesters with their arms around each other, Mr Nimmann said the protesters did not trust the Government or its advisers and called for an end to lockdown.


Some supported these actions – but the protest caused widespread anger and incredulity among many more others.
And it cut no ice with Coun Fenton-Glynn who also tweeted: “These people are putting the lives of front line workers and vulnerable people at risk!”
Hebden Bridge Town Hall, where one of the protesters is a volunteer, tweeted: “We are aware of an anti-lockdown protest locally recently featuring a local resident who is also an occasional volunteer receptionist.
“We have made it clear to them, as we do now here, we do not support this protest in any way.”


Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden), said the council and partners including West Yorkshire Police were concerned by the protest and warned action could be taken against those deliberately flouting advice.
“Our community safety wardens and the police continue to engage with people in public areas, helping them to understand the rules and why they’re so important.
“If they become aware of people putting themselves and others at risk, they will politely encourage compliance with social distancing rules.
“If people do not comply, officers will advise and warn if necessary and may use their legal powers where there is no other option,” she said.
 

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