Three protestors from the same family were significantly outnumbered by police during an anti-lockdown protest in Norfolk Heritage Park this afternoon.
Amy-Lou Stewart, 30, from Barnsley, attended the protest with her partner and child, as the park was patrolled by three police vehicles and half a dozen officers.
Ms Stewart said she was disappointed with the turnout, putting it down to the police presence in the park, and hoped there would be “more of a crowd” in Endcliffe Park, where she was headed next.
She recently returned from protests in London, which she said were attended by around 200 people before being dispersed by police.
Ms Stewart said the lockdown is “against our human rights” and that authorities are currently “putting all hospital deaths down to coronavirus.”
She said “I’ve been sceptical for a while, but I didn’t take action because I didn’t think other people felt the same.”
Ms Stewart advised taking the advice of the government’s expert epidemiologists and scientists with a pinch of salt.
“We should be looking into who these people are,” she said, advising people to “follow the money” to find the real answers – she suggested that health secretary Matt Hancock has shares in the pharmaceutical companies working towards a coronavirus vaccine.
She said her beliefs have been cemented over the last five years after going down an initial online “rabbithole” and was adamant they are based on “real stats, not just facebook.”
When asked if she had stuck to the lockdown, Ms Stewart said there was no real law to break, describing the Coronavirus Act 2020 as “just guidelines.”
Ben Miskell, Councillor for Park and Arbourthorne, said the attendees were “totally irresponsible” to be staging what he described as “a pointless political protest” against sensible social distancing and lockdown measures during the global pandemic.
He said people in his ward were outraged by the arrogance of the protestors, adding: “Sheffield parks are a green lung for the city. Our safe space. For our old people, our children.”
“I’m pleased that the overwhelming majority of Sheffielders are sensible and attendance at this protest was tiny.”
Norfolk Park was one of over 60 locations in the UK expected to host anti-lockdown demonstrations this afternoon, with protests also planned at Middleton Park and Hyde Park in Leeds.