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Virus deniers put us all at greater risk - city's leader; he condemns those who took part in rally on busy shopping day.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON Reporter ian.johnson@ncjmedia.co.uk @IANJOHNSONCHRON

A COUNCIL leader has branded hundreds of anti-lockdown campaigners "idiots".

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes claimed protesters had flouted Covid-19 guidelines during a rally on Saturday.

Activists and anti-vaxxers marched from Grey's Monument to the Civic Centre, waving signs with slogans such as "Scamdemic lies - no virus".

The rally was staged on a day when thousands of Christmas shoppers were in the city centre.

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There was a heavy police presence, with demonstrators pictured in close proximity to each other and without wearing face masks, but the event remained peaceful.

idiots obey Coun

However, Coun Forbes hit out at the scenes in a reply to a Tweet sent by Piers Morgan, in which the ITV star hit out at conspiracy theories peddled by those he dubbed the "scamdemic brigade".

"We had a crowd of them flooding into Newcastle today for a protest," wrote the Labour politician.

"Covid-denying, anti-mask-wearing idiots, refusing to observe social distancing and therefore putting our residents at greater risk".

The Chronicle contacted Coun

Forbes for additional comment as well as the group behind the protest.

Currently one vaccine - the Pfizer/ BioNTech jab - has been independently approved for use in the UK, after safety data was rigorously analysed. NHS staff and residents in care homes for older adults and their carers have already started to receive the highly effective vaccine, which is widely seen as the best chance to end the pandemic and the restrictions enforced on the UK for most of 2020.

While a new, fast-spreading mutant strain forced Boris Johnson to cancel Christmas for millions of people on Saturday, Government officials and scientists said there's no evidence to date that vaccines wouldn't be effective against it.

In his original tweet, Good Morning Britain host Piers urged the public to show caution with the new strain.

Coviddenying, antimask-wearing refusing to social distancing Forbes "Putting aside Boris Johnson's ongoing shambolic leadership, this new faster-spreading Covid variant is clearly a very serious development and needs to be taken very seriously," he posted to his 7.7m followers. "This is not a time for the 'scamdemic' brigade to be shrieking their conspiracy c***".

Coun Forbes's comments come as the city's infection rate has started to surge again.

Cases increased by around 44% last week, with infections currently rising faster in Newcastle than anywhere else in the North East.

on a day Christmas city scientists to wouldn't [They are] Coviddenying, antimask-wearing idiots refusing to obey social distancing Coun Forbes the

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Saturday's rally in Newcastle

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Author:IAN JOHNSON Reporter ian.johnson@ncjmedia.co.uk @IANJOHNSONCHRON
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2020
Words:426
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