Throughout this week, I have been in regular contact with Gloucestershire Constabulary – up to and including the Chief Constable – about tomorrow’s proposed demonstration in Bathurst Park, Lydney.
I have made clear from the start that the event is not only unlawful, but also presents a clear risk to public health given we are still battling Covid-19 and have all worked so hard to reduce the infection rate over the past few months.
Despite the fact that tomorrow’s proposed demonstration in Bathurst Park is unlawful under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2020, which clearly state that “no person may participate in a gathering which takes place...outdoors, and consists of more than six persons”, it now appears inevitable that it will take place which is disappointing.
We have excellent frontline police officers in our County and I know they will do their best to police this event to minimise the inevitable risks to the community which the event will create.
My message to my constituents remains clear: the event is unlawful, attending it is an offence and people shouldn’t do so.
As I said in the House of Commons earlier this week, I abhor racism of any kind. If we were not in the middle of a global pandemic, I would be happy to defend the right to protest, especially for a cause we can all agree on such as opposing racism.
I also said in the House of Commons that I would welcome a peaceful anti-racism demonstration to take place after the Coronavirus Regulations are no longer in force, and I have offered to meet with the protest’s organisers to discuss their concerns.