Dealing with anti-vax protesters
We have been involved in several anti-vax protester removals, but the movement continues to grow in momentum. The Police do not handle protest removals if protestors are occupying privately owned land or land which is owned by a local authority – this is normally classed as a civil matter which is carried out by enforcement agents acting under a High Court writ of possession.
On 18th January 2022, the BBC wrote about the recently formed “Alpha Men Assemble” group, which combines anti-vaccine and sovereign citizen beliefs.
Alpha Men Assemble
The BBC states that the Alpha Men Assemble group has been holding training sessions around the UK to prepare members – of whom they now have 8,000 – for “direct action” and confrontation techniques, such as sparring, marching formations and breaking through police lines.
A Daily Mail reporter infiltrated the Alpha Men Assemble group’s preparations for direct action at a park in Staffordshire as the mostly middle-aged and white male crowd readied itself for direct action.
The 100 activists present were urged to ‘hit vaccine centres, schools, headteachers, colleges, councillors and directors of public health in every area’ as well as ‘take it to the Old Bill’ and were warned that the fight was ‘not for the faint-hearted’.
Sovereign citizens believe that ancient law, which is centuries out of date, is still valid. Whilst some aspects of common law do remain, the tenets they are basing their arguments on are no longer valid.
In terms of the vaccine programme and restrictions on movements, they believe that these are crimes and that they can bring politicians and others before “common law courts.” There is no basis in law for these beliefs.
However, this is not preventing them from handing out fake legal documents at schools and hospitals and even removing patients ill with Covid from hospital wards.
National Eviction Team experience with anti-vax protesters
We have been engaged by a number of clients to handle removal of such protesters since the pandemic began, the largest of which was a group calling themselves “Lovedown” in May 2021.
The demonstrators were protesting against Covid vaccines, testing, mask wearing and the lockdown generally.
Our local authority client went to court to obtain a writ of possession to remove them and instructed the National Eviction Team to undertake the job.
Many of the local residents were relieved about this move, as there had been increased crime and anti-social behaviour since the protesters’ arrival.
During the operation to remove the 100 plus protesters, there was significant violence on the part of the protesters, many of whom were armed with weapons such as knives, hammers, crowbars and razor blades.
We were able to remove many of the protesters that first day, but due to their violence and weaponry, the decision was made to withdraw, so that the Police would be able to fully resource for this level of aggression.
When we jointly resumed the eviction, there were 50 National Eviction Team enforcement agents and over 100 police officers taking part in the operation. They were attacked by the demonstrators, and some sustained injuries, fortunately minor.
After the eviction, a number of protesters went round trying to garner support from local residents, but their pleas mostly fell on deaf ears. In fact, many residents, including the local Neighbourhood Watch, came up to our enforcement agents to thank them for removing the demonstrators.
The police issued dispersal orders, made a number of arrests and we set to securing the site and arranging for clearance of the significant rubbish that the protesters had left behind. In our experience, the longer the demonstrators stay on a site, the worse the detritus and damage they leave behind.
What you can do to prepare
As with all aspects of crisis management, planning and preparation is essential, so that you have everything in place, including the right High Court Enforcement Agent, should there be a protest of any kind.
If you would like advice on how to prepare and what you will need in place, please do get in touch.