Police are appealing for information on the dozens of people filmed taking over an NHS test-and-trace site in Milton Keynes, with one woman captured ransacking an office and stealing what appears to be various Covid testing samples and equipment.
A large group of anti-vaxxers were filmed on Wednesday storming the facility – where PCR tests are sent to be analysed – holding placards reading “Freedom is not negotiable” and chanting slogans such as “You can shove your f***ing vaccine up your a***”.
The footage, which was shared on social media, also showed members of the crowd throwing traffic cones towards the marquee set up to administer tests, while a man can be heard announcing via a loud hailer that they “come peacefully”.
It was not immediately clear if those present believed the testing site was a vaccination centre but much of the anger expressed in the videos appeared to be about Covid jabs.
Jeff Wyatt, former deputy leader of the far-right For Britain Movement, addressed the crowd before leading its charge through the site, where he claimed there were “millions” of like-minded anti-vaccine activists who have “woken up”.
Some of the crowd were videoed approaching centre staff, shouting at them to “take off” their fluorescent orange NHS jackets, demanding to know if they “have been vaccinated” and filming them on their mobile phones.
Others are shown knocking down signs for the testing centre, while the crowd is heard shouting “shame on you” and “fascist bastards”.
MPs condemned the actions of those at the protest, with shadow trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticising people for their “dreadful” behaviour and for abusing “NHS staff [who] are working over the festive season to help others”.
Imagine being so selfish - so convinced of your own righteousness - that you’d storm a Test & Trace centre, abuse staff working there, steal testing equipment, & dump it in a bin outside the centre.
In a *pandemic*.
Anti-vaxxers in Milton Keynes today. pic.twitter.com/PDGRHI7Yzf
— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) December 29, 2021
He urged anyone with information to pass this onto Thames Valley Police, while Tory MP Alicia Kearns thanked all the NHS “volunteers and staff who deserve so much better than this shameful, self-aggrandising nonsense”.
Labour’s Stella Creasy described the scenes as “disgraceful”, adding: “For months now, we have been warning need legislation to tackle those who harass others seeking healthcare.
“Government promised to act weeks ago but nothing as yet. Enough. It’s not free speech when 50 per cent of debate in fear.”
Earlier in the day, Boris Johnson was also in Milton Keynes speaking at a vaccination centre. The PM told reporters up to 90 per cent of those being admitted to ICUs in hospital were “not boosted” and urged Britons to go out and get jabbed in the run-up to New Year’s Eve.
The so-called Freedom Rally through the Buckinghamshire town was not limited to the test-and-trace site, either. Images also show Piers Corbyn addressing a crowd who “forced their way” into the Milton Keynes Theatre’s foyer, according to the venue’s Twitter account.
Corbyn – a prominent anti-lockdown protester and brother of the former Labour leader Jeremy – can be seen speaking into a microphone while those around him hold up signs reading “Never fully vaxxed” and “Experimental Covid ‘vaccines’ kill”.
They intimidate the staff and the people leaving in their cars while destroying signs and throwing cones around all while Jeff Wyatt barks through his megaphone. pic.twitter.com/jCWOCmLrGq
— Lister (@marclister3k) December 29, 2021
Matthew Barber, the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, said it was “appalling” to see the protest “escalate into something much uglier”.
He added that he had spoken to police officers to discuss their response on Wednesday evening, and that “criminal offences will be investigated and the appropriate action taken”.
“All of the events of today will be reviewed to help plan for future protest events and ensure that colleagues in the NHS can continue their fantastic work in delivering the vaccine roll out,” he said.
Thames Valley Police said in a statement that no arrests had yet been made, but that they had footage of the incident they were analysing.
“Thames Valley Police is aware of an anti-vaccination protest that took place in central Milton Keynes this afternoon,” a spokesperson said. “Where criminal offences have been disclosed, we will take swift action and bring offenders to justice.”
Anyone who has any information or something they wish to report about the protest is asked to do so by calling 101, or by going online, and quoting the reference 604 29/12/2021.