Statement on protest at St John’s Gardens

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Officers attended St John’s Gardens in Liverpool city centre today (Saturday 17 October) where a group of protestors had gathered.

Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said: “Merseyside Police has been clear in advising people not to gather to protest under the current restrictions and consider safer ways of making themselves heard.

“Under coronavirus legislation protest can be lawful if certain conditions are met. In this case the organiser satisfied those conditions. Throughout the protest officers engaged with the organiser to ensure that their risk assessment was complied with.

“During the protest, participants were asked to keep socially distanced by speakers at regular intervals. While there were some examples of people not socially distancing, officers monitoring the demonstration observed those in attendance responding to those requests and spreading out.

“As they have been doing with the public throughout the pandemic, our officers acted proportionately – they engaged with the organiser who then complied with those requests and it was therefore ultimately not necessary to take the next step of enforcement.

“Had attendees not adhered to the requests made by speakers, and the protest had become unlawful, we would not have hesitated to take enforcement action.

“Officers remained until the protest ended and the gathering dispersed in an orderly fashion.

“When our officers witness clear breaches of legislation and initial engagement does not work, we have taken strong enforcement action, and will continue to do so when it is needed.”

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