Pictures: Brighton protest march against coronavirus restrictions

HUNDREDS of protesters have gathered in Brighton and Hove for a demonstration against lockdown restrictions.

A large group gathered at the Peace Statue in Hove at noon ahead of the event, which has been organised by campaign group Save Our Rights UK.

They marched west along the seafront before making their way up to Brighton Station via the North Laine area, then heading down Queen’s Road.

The Argus: The coronavirus protest in Brighton todayThe coronavirus protest in Brighton today

They were led by a man with a megaphone, who was dressed as Father Christmas.

At one point he said: “We have woken up. We will no longer be complicit.”

He would also start chants of “freedom” at regular intervals.

As protesters walked along Queen’s Road, many yelled “take off your mask” at people wearing face coverings who were walking by.

Others branded the requirement to wear a face mask in many indoor areas as a “conspiracy theory”.

Supporters carried signs with written messages including “no more lockdowns” and “all we want for Christmas is our freedom back”.

The Argus:

The march was chaperoned by more than 20 police officers, with several force vans and bikes following the procession.

A large number of officers walked alongside the march as it moved through the city, with officers seen speaking to members of the protest.

Ahead of the demonstration today, Sussex Police issued a statement which said: “Protests are exempt under The Health Protection (Cornonavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020 but only if certain criteria is met by the organiser.

The Argus: The coronavirus protest in Brighton todayThe coronavirus protest in Brighton today

“The legislation requires the organiser to have carried out a risk assessment and ensure all reasonable measures to guarantee those attending will limit the risk of the transmission of coronavirus.

“Police officers and PCSOs will continue to be out and about in communities to engage with members of the public, explain the new government regulations and encourage them to follow them.

“Where this is not effective and people choose to flout the rules, enforcement could be taken.”

The Argus | Brighton and Hove news