SOCIAL media posts claiming 'mass gatherings' will be held in two Newport parks on Saturday in protest against the coronavirus lockdown have been condemned by police, politicians and businesses in the city.

The posters dispersed on social media advertise 'unified peaceful mass gathering(s)' in Belle Vue park and Beechwood Park on Saturday, May 16.

The poster reads: "We say no to the coronavirus bill, no to mandatory vaccines, no to the new normal and no to the unlawful lockdown.

"Bring a picnic, some music and let's have some fun and say yes to life."

Similar events are reportedly being planned across the UK at the same time.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: "We are aware of the messages that have been circulating, both nationally and in the local area. Our approach remains the same, to engage with the public, explain the situation and encourage them to follow the advice.


"However if people do ignore the guidance, we will take enforcement action. We are liaising with the council and our officers are continuing to carry out patrols across the force area and we want to, again, thank those that are abiding by the current restrictions, working together to help save lives."

The event appears to have been organised by the UK Freedom Movement, a right-wing group which claims to stand for "freedom, equality and democracy".

Although some lockdown rules have been eased in England, in Wales meeting up with others in areas such as parks is still banned.

Newport City Council leader Cllr Jane Mudd, MSs John Griffiths and Jayne Bryant and MPs Jessica Morden and Ruth Jones have all urged local people to continue following the Welsh Government’s guidance.

In a joint statement they said: “Following the reports of plans of two mass gatherings in Newport this weekend, we are urging people to stay away from these events. We must continue to follow the clear and necessary guidance set out by Welsh Government and leave our homes for essential purposes only.

“We have been one of the most affected areas by the coronavirus, not just in Wales, but across the UK. The organisers of these gatherings are behaving in a reckless and irresponsible way. It is completely disrespectful to those who have lost their lives from this awful virus and also all our keyworkers, who are working around the clock to keep us safe."

Management at Belle Vue Park Team Rooms have insisted they will close if they find the proposals are real.

A statement released on the Tea Rooms' Facebook page reads: "Even if you don’t agree with the measures to protect us from Covid-19, there will be ways and means of promoting your argument. Stupid and blatant gatherings will hurt everyone in the short term.

"We were anticipating to deliver a takeaway service from Saturday but will close if there is a suggestion of a gathering."

On its Facebook page the UK Freedom Movement says: "We believe in true equality, not the racially inspired identity politics of the far left and the far right, that masquerades as equality, but the true equality where all are equal before the law irrespective of race, creed or culture.

"One law for all to be protected by and be accountable to Finally (sic) democracy, where every citizen over 18 years of age is able to vote and take part in the political process, this democracy can only work in a sovereign nation state that has clearly defined borders that are not subject to change, in our case this means the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."

The page features multiple posts criticising Islam and supporting right-wing and far-right activists.