The anti-establishment movement with a worldwide presence came to Falkirk on Saturday after organisation on social media– primarily spawned from the Facebook group.
Globally, there is a belief amongst a percentage of citizens that the coronavirus restrictions implemented by governments is an attempt to chip away at rights and freedoms of the individual, perceiving everything from leisure centre closures, to mandatory face coverings as an attack on civil liberties.
Eschewing both government regulations and warning from health experts, the group gathered in Callander Park to express their discontent at the perceived exaggeration of the severity of COVID-19, and the infringement of their human rights.
Notions that the government should “protect rights, not health” in lieu of the economic and social halt that 2020 has brought are rampant throughout the movement.
The demonstration began at 12PM, with protestors gathering outside Callendar House in Falkirk. Around 30 people carrying placards–demonstrably without face coverings or hand sanitiser stations– flocked to the local beauty spot to express their views.
Frustraion at the pause to normalcy during lockdown is the main source of discontent for the group, with this sentiment being echoed in similar groups in other towns, cities, and countries worldwide.
The group appears to believe in and mix factual statistical data with misinformation; leaflets advertising the event were peppered with downplayed data and statements regarding the lethality of the disease, mixed with accurate data.
The overarching message within both the leaflets and group itself appears to be that the vast majority of individuals would survive even if having contracted the illness, therefore business should resume as usual, potentially ignoring the vulnerable minority.
The secondary message, perhaps more worryingly, would seem to convey that the lockdown is manufactured entirely to begin stripping citizens of freedom, starting with the 2020 Coronavirus Act.
The group levels accusations of deliberate attempts to cause hysteria at the government and the media in general, wholeheartedly believing that lies and propaganda are at the heart of the coronavirus issue.
Individuals within the movement argue that the closures and restrictions are unnecessary and manufactured, albeit to different degrees.
The event played host to speakers and talks from individuals against everything from mandatory face coverings in public, to 5G mobile networks– a popular conspiracy theory circulating about the origin of COVID-19 for some time now.
Independent councillor Paddy Hogg, and songster Billy Watson were amongst the speakers articulating their views to the small crowd.
The event went on until 3PM, with likeminded individuals conversing and planning the next gathering.
The group plans to march on Holyrood on Saturday, September 5, in protest of the Scottish Government’s handling of the pandemic.
It is important to note that individuals in the group and those participating in the event are not a homogeneous hive mind. Views range from anger at minor restrictions, to more extreme views regarding global conspiracies.
The group also calls for a national reconstruction plan for jobs and the economy, with quantitative easing for the public, and deeper investigation into care home deaths.
Next Saturday the group are taking to Callendar Park to gather and protest the restrictions again. Only time will tell if the movement gains traction on Scottish soil.