Courts to rule on removal of 'anti-vaccination' encampment in Hackney Downs

Campaigners at the Hackney Downs camp say they are protesting the coronavirus act.

Campaigners at the Hackney Downs camp say they are protesting the coronavirus act and measures like vaccine passports. - Credit: Holly Chant

An encampment protesting coronavirus restrictions and spreading "anti-vaccination messages" could be removed from Hackney Downs after the council submitted a case to the courts.

Campaigners set up a "lovedown freedom" camp in Hackney Downs Park, near near Mossbourne Community Academy and Stormont House Special School, on July 14. 

One member told the Gazette that they were protesting the coronavirus act, which has given the government unprecedented, emergency powers throughout the pandemic, as well as measures like vaccine passports. 

Signs put up in the camp ask park goers, "are you free?" and list doctors censored "for the truth".  

But following concerns from residents, the council has submitted a case to the courts to have the encampment removed.

A sign at the Hackney Downs Park encampment.

A sign at the Hackney Downs Park encampment. The council has submitted its case to get the group removed for spreading "anti-vaccination messages". - Credit: Holly Chant


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A hearing date has now been confirmed for 11.30am on Thursday (August 12) at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. 

Cllr Caroline Woodley, portfolio holder for parks, said: “We know that many residents have been as disappointed as we are that an unauthorised encampment has continued to occupy and spread its anti-vaccination message on Hackney Downs.

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“We have worked through the legal process as quickly as possible and our case has now been submitted to the courts."

A sign at the Hackney Downs unauthorised encampment reads: "Are you free?"

A sign at the Hackney Downs unauthorised encampment reads: "Are you free?" - Credit: Holly Chant

The councillor added that the group has made "ongoing demands" on council resources, with the local authority's Parks and Green Spaces team and enforcement teams joining police in regular patrols of the area. 

Cllr Woodley urged residents to continue wearing masks if they are able, to help protect those who have not yet been fully vaccinated. 

He said: “We continue to encourage everyone to visit the nine vaccination sites we have set up in Hackney, and take up the walk-in appointments available in local pharmacies, clinics and community venues.

“Evidence to date demonstrates that two doses of a vaccine provides effective protection from serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths.

"It is vital, especially in light of recent central government policy to remove restrictions on how and where people meet, that the council, Clinical Commissioning Group and stakeholders can continue to deliver equal, free access to vaccinations and that the public are not misled by scientifically and factually incorrect information at this crucial time.”

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