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Coronavirus UK: Anti-lockdown activists march on Edinburgh

Hundreds of maskless anti-lockdown protesters including conspiracy theorists today marched on Edinburgh on the first weekend of Nicola Sturgeon’s coronavirus clampdown on pubs across Scotland.

Demonstrators brandished placards which screamed ‘Purge the Sturge’ and ‘Truth not Fear’ as they gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in defiance of tough restrictions on mass gatherings.

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Police patrolled the protest as conspiracy theorists advocated ‘independence from the Globalist Agenda’. One demonstrator carried an effigy of billionaire Bill Gates wearing a black-and-white striped prison costume.

The group, known as Saving Scotland, said ‘with the threats of more lockdowns and even further restrictions we must ensure we stand up for those who are losing their lives due to lack of treatment, losing their businesses, their jobs, for those in care homes, the children being masked and socially distanced in schools’. 

Last night Edinburgh’s hospitality industry descended on the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood as part of a protest against the new central belt restrictions on bars, pubs and restaurants.

Bartenders and owners dumped their now useless ice from their venues outside the building, representing the idea that their industry has been ‘frozen’ and ‘put on ice’.

Following new restrictions, which began at 6pm last night and will last for the next 16 days, venues across the capital have been left with a surplus of ice for ‘drinks that will never be made’. MailOnline has contacted the Scottish Government and Police Scotland for comment. 

It comes as the Scottish First Minister this week warned cases have surged among the older generation as she banned pubs and restaurants from serving alcohol indoors in Scotland for at least 16 days. 

Anti-mask group ‘Saving Scotland’ gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today with hundreds of other anti-lockdown protesters over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Scottish Government

Demonstrators brandished placards which screamed 'Purge the Sturge' and 'Truth not Fear' as they gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in defiance of tough restrictions on mass gatherings

Demonstrators brandished placards which screamed ‘Purge the Sturge’ and ‘Truth not Fear’ as they gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in defiance of tough restrictions on mass gatherings

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh

A protester carried a placard reading 'Covid 1984: Stand up for your freedoms' during an anti-lockdown rally today

A protester carried a placard reading ‘Covid 1984: Stand up for your freedoms’ during an anti-lockdown rally today

The group, known as Saving Scotland, said "with the threats of more lockdowns and even further restrictions we must ensure we stand up for those who are losing their lives due to lack of treatment, losing their businesses, their jobs, for those in care homes, the children being masked and socially distanced in schools"

The group, known as Saving Scotland, said ‘with the threats of more lockdowns and even further restrictions we must ensure we stand up for those who are losing their lives due to lack of treatment, losing their businesses, their jobs, for those in care homes, the children being masked and socially distanced in schools’

Police patrolled the protest as conspiracy theorists advocated 'independence from the Globalist Agenda'

Police patrolled the protest as conspiracy theorists advocated ‘independence from the Globalist Agenda’

Demonstrators holding posters reading 'Covid corruption, follow the money!' and 'Covid scandal, corrupt Government'

Demonstrators holding posters reading ‘Covid corruption, follow the money!’ and ‘Covid scandal, corrupt Government’

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh today

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh today

The group, known as Saving Scotland, said 'with the threats of more lockdowns and even further restrictions we must ensure we stand up for those who are losing their lives due to lack of treatment, losing their businesses, their jobs, for those in care homes, the children being masked and socially distanced in schools'

The group, known as Saving Scotland, said ‘with the threats of more lockdowns and even further restrictions we must ensure we stand up for those who are losing their lives due to lack of treatment, losing their businesses, their jobs, for those in care homes, the children being masked and socially distanced in schools’

She told MSPs at Holyrood that the situation was ‘better than March’, but admitted she needed to take a ‘backward step’ as she unveiled a dramatic ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze to coincide with the school half-term north of the border.

As well as a ban on serving alcohol, hospitality venues will only be allowed to open from 6am to 6pm as Ms Sturgeon said without the crackdown the virus could be ‘out of control by the end of this month’. 

But in five ‘hotspot’ areas in Scotland’s central belt, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to approximately 70 per cent of the population, pubs will be closed altogether apart from takeaways until October 26 and people will be advised against using public transport. 

Hospitality bosses described the decision as a ‘total catastrophe’ that will be the ‘final straw,’ for hundreds of venues. Sector chiefs said Ms Sturgeon had ‘effectively signed a death sentence for many businesses’ and said the ‘real problem’ was socialising at home.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association told The Telegraph that more than two-thirds of pubs, bars and restaurants ‘could be mothballed or go under’, along with more than half the sector’s jobs. 

A demonstrator holds a placard at a protest action against restrictions imposed during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, outside Downing Street, central London on October 10, 2020

A demonstrator holds a placard at a protest action against restrictions imposed during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, outside Downing Street, central London on October 10, 2020

Piers Corbyn speaks during protesters outside Downing Street during a demonstration against the Coronavirus lockdown in London, Britain today

Piers Corbyn speaks during protesters outside Downing Street during a demonstration against the Coronavirus lockdown in London, Britain today 

Demonstrators gather at a protest action against restrictions imposed during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, outside Downing Street, central London today

Demonstrators gather at a protest action against restrictions imposed during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, outside Downing Street, central London today

A demonstrator carries an anti-vaccination sign at a protest action against restrictions imposed during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, outside Downing Street, central London today

A demonstrator carries an anti-vaccination sign at a protest action against restrictions imposed during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, outside Downing Street, central London today

A man wearing a t-shirt stating that the 9/11 September 11 terror attacks on the Twin Towers in New York was a conspiracy, poses for a photograph ahead of a protest against government imposed restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Hyde Park, central London today

A man wearing a t-shirt stating that the 9/11 September 11 terror attacks on the Twin Towers in New York was a conspiracy, poses for a photograph ahead of a protest against government imposed restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Hyde Park, central London today

Protesters outside Downing Street against the Coronavirus lockdown in London, Britain today

Protesters outside Downing Street against the Coronavirus lockdown in London, Britain today 

Imposing some of the toughest restrictions in Europe, Ms Sturgeon said that if it was ‘a purely one dimensional decision’ about tackling the disease there would be even harsher action, but she was considering the wider economy and wellbeing. 

But it provoked howls of protest from the hospitality industry, who branded the clampdown a ‘total catastrophe’ and warned a swathe of business will go under permanently.  

Ms Sturgeon said that indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm daily, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only.

Outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to remain open up until 10pm and will be allowed to sell alcohol up to that time.

The restrictions will come into force at 6pm on Friday and are intended to end after October 25. 

Anti-mask group 'Saving Scotland' gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today with hundreds of other anti-lockdown protesters over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Scottish Government

Anti-mask group ‘Saving Scotland’ gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh today with hundreds of other anti-lockdown protesters over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Scottish Government

One protester held a poster reading 'Purge the Sturge' as hundreds of protesters gathered at an anti-lockdown demonstration

One protester held a poster reading ‘Purge the Sturge’ as hundreds of protesters gathered at an anti-lockdown demonstration

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh

One protester held a banner reading 'we need independence from the Globalist Agenda' at an anti-lockdown protest today

One protester held a banner reading ‘we need independence from the Globalist Agenda’ at an anti-lockdown protest today

A protester held a red placard read 'WTF TV.info' as hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered in Edinburgh today

A protester held a red placard read ‘WTF TV.info’ as hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators gathered in Edinburgh today

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh

Protesters with placards gather outside the Scottish Parliament entrance to demonstrate against new coronavirus restrictions, face covering rules and the search for a virus in Edinburgh

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm daily, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm daily, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only

However, all licensed premises in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley health board areas will be closed for both indoor and outdoor operations.

Cafes without a licence to sell alcohol will be allowed to open until 6pm, the First Minister said, to counter social isolation.

People in the central belt of Scotland have been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks.

While a travel restriction is not being enforced on people in those five areas, Ms Sturgeon urged those living in these areas not to travel beyond their own health boards.

Ms Sturgeon insisted it was her ‘firm intention’ that the clampdown will end after two weeks.

‘It is our firm intention these measures will be lefted at the end of two weeks… but obviously it stands to reason we will moitor the virus between now and then.’ 

She said: ‘Let me be clear. We are not going back into lockdown today.

‘We are not closing schools, colleges or universities.We are not halting the remobilisation of the NHS for non-Covid care. And we are not asking people to stay at home. So while the measures I announce today will feel like a backward step, they are in the interests of protecting our progress overall. 

‘It is by taking the tough but necessary action now, that we hope to avoid even tougher action in future.’

Scottish government modelling released today suggested that without ‘further intervention’ the daily number of coronavirus cases could reach 35,000 by Christmas. 

The number of daily cases has risen from under 300 two weeks ago – when a ban on households mixing indoors was introduced – to see 1,054 reported today. 

Anti-lockdown protesters (left) clash with counter demonstrators (right) during an anti-lockdown protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Anti-lockdown protesters (left) clash with counter demonstrators (right) during an anti-lockdown protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Members of An Garda order counter demonstrators to retreat during an anti-lockdown protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Members of An Garda order counter demonstrators to retreat during an anti-lockdown protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

An anti-lockdown demonstrator during a protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

An anti-lockdown demonstrator during a protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Members of An Garda order counter demonstrators to retreat during an anti-lockdown protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Members of An Garda order counter demonstrators to retreat during an anti-lockdown protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Anti-lockdown demonstrators during a protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

Anti-lockdown demonstrators during a protest outside Leinster House, Dublin, as Ireland continues to be at a nationwide Level 3 coronavirus lock down

UKHospitality Executive Director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: ‘This is a total catastrophe. Scottish hospitality is already on the brink and is unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence.

‘Forced closures will spell the end for many, many venues which have no cash flow and will have exhausted their reserves. 

‘Severe restrictions to those businesses not forced to close will amount to a closure for many. It is likely to be the final straw for many that were only just hanging on. 

‘We are going to see businesses fold and many jobs lost.’ 

He added: ‘It looks as though the £40m announced by the First Minister will not nearly be sufficient to support the sector. 

‘Any support to underwrite furlough will have to go far beyond the Job Support Scheme, which seems unlikely to be taken up by many hospitality businesses.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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