FM warns lockdown protests would be ‘breaking the law’

Nicola Sturgeon

Protests described as ‘peaceful mass gatherings’ are due to take place throughout Scotland this weekend, to protest the government’s lockdown measures.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said during today’s press briefing that anyone taking part in the ‘picnic in the park’ elements of the protest would be ‘breaking the law.’

Police are asking people not to attend the protests, fearing that they could cause more COVID-19 infections, and put additional strain on the health system.

Protests have been arranged for Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, but it is not known how many people are expected to attend.

The leaflets advertising the events state “We say no to the Coronavirus Bill, no to mandatory vaccines, no to the new normal, and no to the unlawful lockdown.”

Organisers have asked attendees to ‘bring a picnic, some music and let’s have some fun and say yes to life.”

lockdown protest poster Scotland, lockdown protest, peaceful mass gathering,
The poster which has been distributed on social media.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said “We have been made aware of these leaflets and would strongly urge people not to take part.

“The Scottish Government’s guidance is clear – people should only leave the house for very limited purposes, for example for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, for exercise, for medical needs or travelling for work which cannot be done at home.

“Public gatherings of more than two people, with limited exceptions, are prohibited.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that people attending these events could ‘put lives at risk’

The organisation planning the events have described lockdown measures as ‘unlawful.’

But Nicola Sturgeon reminded the public today that the measures have been put in place to protect the public.

She said during today’s press briefing “I have recognised all along – and I always make a point of saying it because I know it gets more true every day – that this is really difficult for everybody. It’s not easy to live under these restrictions, it’s not pleasant to live under the restrictions, so I know people’s patience is getting frayed and people get frustrated, and I think that’s true all of the time. It’s undoubtedly truer on days when the sun is shining.

“But in my experience and my anecdotal experience, but also the as you would expect the Scottish Government does opinion tracking and polling to understand where public option is, I think the support for doing the right thing is very very high.

“People are frustrated but understand why they’re being asked to do these things and wants to continue to do the right thing.

“I will not keep these restrictions for longer than necessary. Please trust me when I say that but the other side of that is please trust me when I say that right now, it is necessary in order to stop this virus running out of control again.”

Talking about the leaflets and social media campaign surrounding the event, Ms Sturgeon said “In terms of the so-called protest, I know there has been material circulating on social media. I’d say two things really.

“First of all anyone who goes to a picnic in the park right now will be breaking the law. Gatherings outside of household gatherings are not allowed. It’s not for me to direct the police in how they would respond to that, but I’ve got every confidence that the police will apply and enforce the law. So you’d be breaking the law which is one good reason not to do it.”