• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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London: Third Week of Targeted Protests By Anti-Vaxxers Dressed in Black

From BBC News:

Four officers have been injured during clashes with anti-vaccine protesters in central London, the Met Police said.

…Demonstrators tried to storm the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) headquarters in central London. Protesters then moved to South Kensington.

…The protest comes after journalists working for ITN were trapped in their offices when a group of anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters forced their way into the broadcaster’s London headquarters on 23 August.

That followed an incident two week before when a crowd thought to be made up of anti-vaccine protesters tried to gain access to the BBC’s old headquarters in White City, west London.

Social media clips show that this was pretty much the same crowd at each event, dressed predominately in black and not carrying placards. As at the BBC protest (blogged here), there was at least one attendee wearing the red beret of the Parachute Regiment; another regular, described as a ringleader, is noted in a Twitter thread here. After proceeding from the MHRA building in Canary Wharf the main target in South Kensington was reportedly the Science Museum (presumably because it hosts an NHS vaccination centre), but there was also a more general melee at South Kensington tube station and at the south end of Exhibition Road.

Although the protests are primarily anti-vax (or toned down to “anti-vaccine passports” for some audiences), there are also QAnon-adjacent grievances: thus at last week’s ITN protest in Gray’s Inn Road, when the Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow was spotted entering the ITN building by a side entrance he was accosted by a protestor who called him “rat” who didn’t “speak up for the children”. Another shouted after him “Are you a paedophile, Jon?”. The BBC’s Marianna Spring recognised one of these protestors:

The man featured here at 14 minutes told our team that we should be executed for crimes against humanity. He then posted on Instagram calling me a rat.

He has appeared at these rallies a number of times promoting online conspiracies and violent rhetoric.

Noting yesterday’s MHRA protest she now adds:

Violence from protesters is escalating – and increasingly organised. Telegram channels discuss weapons and use threatening language about executions. This is a topic I’m continuing to report on in the coming months.

6 Responses

  1. Yesterday, I saw on Twitter a short video clip of what appears to be the protest you are referring to. I made enquiries as to what the protest was against. The information I was offered, which needs fact-checking, was that this was NOT (as you put it) a protest by anti-vaxxers as you report, but rather a protest against alleged inadequacies of the implementation of the procedure for monitoring the vaccinated for the appearance of possible side effects.

    In particular, I was offered the following link, by way of explanation as to the purpose of the protest:
    https://ebmcsquared.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/UpdatedReportYellowCardData_20210809.pdf

    What is your source for your contradictory explanation of the protest, that it was an anti-vax protest? That theory also needs fact-checking, I suggest with the protestors, whom you seem to know, who will be able to tell you what they were really protesting about.

    Please keep up the good work you do generally, whether or not you need to issue a correction to misinformation, or to substantiate your claim, in the present report.

    • Nonsense. You think those protesters have read that 39 page report.
      Want sources check every media outlet, use google.

      • The only primary source I’ve identified so far is a Councillor Andrew Wood, whose quote suggests that it wasn’t simply an anti-vax protest (as reported here), nor a protest about alleged inadequacies of the monitoring and reporting system (as somebody on Twitter had suggested to me), but rather specifically a protest about the proposed extension of the covid vaccination programme of children.

        In my experience, since 2005 when I first tried to fact-check a news story put out by the BBC, a lot of the major publishers of news stories often don’t enable fact-checking. (I hadn’t read any such reports anyway until you suggested I looked for sources there.) I have more confidence in this blog to report accurately than any newspaper. And this was the first report of the protest I’d read.

  2. These are not anti vaxxers, they are anti this vaxx and the fact that they are jabbing children without any long term data proving its safe. Also from the videos I’ve seen it’s police brutality against un armed citizens that pay their wages.

  3. The fact that it looks like government goes ahead with a vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds after a joint health committee states that it was insufficient to have a mass vaccination on this age group as risks outweigh benefits.is horrific and need serious looking into.we are entering dark times indeed

  4. Thank God left-wing, “anti”-fascist, Burn Loot Murder, and Democrat-“adjacent” mainly peaceful looting, rioting, and arson protests don’t sink to the depths of having a red beret AND a RINGLEADER, not carrying trench-clubs (look it up – along with melee!) disguised as placards, flags, and umbrellas, and even blocking journalists into HQs (apart from Jon Snow who managed to find a secret side entrance and escape to tell the world!)!

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