CLOSE TO 100 people gathered in Co Donegal this weekend for an anti-lockdown protest held just a few hours after new restrictions were introduced in the county.
The group gathered at Market Square in Letterkenny at 2pm on Saturday for a “peaceful assembly” of demonstrators opposed to the wearing of masks and social distancing measures.
Protestors came together for the rally carrying placards and flags, with some travelling over from Derry to make their opposition to the lockdown measures known.
One man wore a jacket with the message "the government and the media are the real virus" written on the back.
The protest was organised by a grouping called ‘Time for Truth Donegal’ and was addressed by activist and alternative healthcare advocate Kim McMenamin of Buncrana who branded the pandemic a “scamdemic”.
“Is there a second wave? No there isn’t. We must research and get the knowledge,” McMenamin told the crowd, according to the Irish Mirror.
“We are sick of lies, hypocrisy and deceit from Government. We’re not taking it no more,” he added.
He was joined by former leader of Direct Democracy Ben Gilroy, who also spoke.
The protest was held the same week new restrictions were introduced to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Donegal recorded the highest single daily increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases in more than five months earlier this week.
That total of 30 new cases was close to Donegal’s peak of 39 new infections reported back on April 12.
Though there were some small disturbances and clashes between protestors and people from the media, no arrests were made.
Gardaí have, however, confirmed a probe has been launched to identify the organisers of the event, though they were keen to stress that no attendees were under investigation as "social distancing, wearing of masks in public area and other such guidelines are non-penal regulations".
A Garda spokesperson said: "An Garda Siochana are carrying out an investigation to identify the organiser(s) of this demonstration.
"Gardaí are not investigating breaches of Public Health Regulations by those in attendance. Social distancing, wearing of masks in public area and other such guidelines are non-penal regulations.
"In supporting the COVID-19 public health guidelines and regulations, An Garda Síochána has and will continue to adopt, a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Gardaí engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
"The COVID-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to demonstrate personal and social responsibility to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations in order to continue to save lives."