Sheffield councillor delighted after ‘mass gatherings' attract just a handful of protesters

A Sheffield councillor has thanked the overwhelming majority of city residents for staying away from a coronavirus lockdown protest which attracted less than 10 people.

Saturday, 16th May 2020, 4:28 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th May 2020, 4:29 pm

Councillor Ben Miskell, Labour Councillor for Park and Arbourthorne, was speaking after a ‘mass gathering’ in Norfolk Heritage Park was attended by just a handful of protesters.

The event, which was meant to be mirrored by similar protests at Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park and several other UK cities, were organised by the UK Freedom Movement, a group with links to several high profile far-right organisations.

But most of the events attracted just handfuls of people, with only the London event in Hyde Park seeing larger numbers of protesters.

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Coun Miskell, whose ward covers Norfolk Heritage Park and its surrounding areas, praised both the public and the police for their ‘sensible’ response to the ‘irresponsible’ events.

He said: “I’m pleased that overwhelming majority of Sheffielders are sensible and attendance at this protest was tiny.

“It’s totally irresponsible to gather together in a pointless political protest against a set of sensible social distancing and lockdown measures, in the middle of a global pandemic.

“South Yorkshire Police did a great job today providing reassurance to those out exercising and enjoying the park today and should be congratulated for their efforts.

Officers from South Yorkshire Police's Manor and Arbourthorne teams in Norfolk Park.

“Sheffield’s parks are a green lung for the city. Our safe space. For our old people, our children.

“Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers intent on breaking social distancing or anyone intending to make our parks unsafe places during this pandemic are not welcome.”

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