Among the Covid sceptics: ‘We are being manipulated, without a shadow of a doubt’

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Sumary of Among the Covid sceptics: ‘We are being manipulated, without a shadow of a doubt’:

  • She was forced to close her business, a small tattoo studio that she had opened two years earlier, at the age of 24..
  • On New Year Eve, a doctor at St Thomas’ hospital in London filmed a crowd of protesters who had gathered outside holding placards and chanting “Covid is a hoax”..
  • The case failed, but as it picked up media attention, people contacted him to express their support – mostly small business owners, he said, and others directly affected by strict lockdown rules..
  • A YouGov survey in October found that the number of people in the UK who thought that Covid fatalities had been exaggerated was about 20%..
  • As death rates soared in December and January, Facebook groups, Instagram accounts and Telegram channels dedicated to downplaying the pandemic attracted thousands of followers..
  • Other Covid sceptics, particularly some regulars at street protests, are members of far right and football hooligan groups..
  • (Piers Corbyn is one of four anti-lockdown candidates standing for London mayor in May, along with the actor Laurence Fox, the London Assembly member David Kurten and the American conspiracy theorist and podcaster Brian Rose, who interviewed Icke in March.) From April 2020 onwards, all three groups began organising small protests, and on 16 May they attracted national attention when protesters clashed with police at Hyde Park in London..
  • “The rallies elsewhere flopped, but it was the first properly coordinated attempt to have protests around the country.”.
  • On lively Facebook groups, people swap stories about hardship under lockdown, and approvingly share screenshots of tweets by mainstream lockdown sceptics such as Toby Young and Allison Pearson..
  • One particularly popular figure is the backbench Tory MP Charles Walker, who voted against the second and third lockdowns and recently staged a protest against ongoing Covid restrictions in which he walked around London holding a pint of milk..
  • It is difficult to trace who exactly organised it, but David Icke was the headline speaker and all the main players had some involvement..
  • (“I think it almost been a deliberate tactic on the organisers’ front to obscure who exactly was behind the protests, to present them more as a grassroots thing,”.
  • He had gravitated towards the movement after seeing posts on his cryptocurrency groups about the “Great Reset”.
  • “I can’t think of a similar time where conspiracy theorists have been so organised and able to get those kinds of numbers out on the street.”.
  • Mark Thomas/Rex/Shutterstock In September, as concern grew about the spread of disinformation, Facebook shut down some of the biggest Covid sceptic groups, including Stand Up X..
  • The platform isn’t as widely used as Facebook – most of the main Covid sceptic Telegram groups have between 5,000 and 15,000 users – but discussion is lively, with members swapping thousands of messages a day..
  • And the closed nature of the platform – with groups essentially operating like giant WhatsApp chats – helps to entrench people in their positions..
  • This clause of Magna Carta applied only to a small group of barons, not the public at large, and in any case, it never became statutory law..
  • (In January, Kirklees council obtained an injunction to prevent Quinn from opening her business during a national lockdown again.) On a cold day in mid-January, two women met at Seven Sisters station in north London..
  • The Great Reopening was promoted by all the main Covid sceptic groups, who hoped that collective action could force the government to lift restrictions..
  • As they walked along the high street, sticking leaflets through the letterboxes of shuttered nail salons and restaurants, they chatted..
  • In the late morning, I stopped off at the only business in my vicinity listed on the site – a small clothing boutique in north London..
  • Even the area where the anti-lockdown movement had previously found success – street protests – floundered over the winter..
  • The day of the Great Reopening was cold and wet, but a small group of protesters still showed up in Hyde Park, as they have most weekends since the summer….

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