Condemnation of 'despicable' scenes in Milton Keynes as anti-vaxxers storm test and trace centre

Covid protest anti-vax Milton Keynes Twitter
The group held signs with misinformation about the pandemic. Credit: Twitter

A group of anti-vaxxers who stormed a Covid test and trace centre in Milton Keynes have been condemned as "despicable," with calls on the government to "do more" to clamp down on such behaviour.

Video posted on social media shows dozens of marchers entering the facility and appearing to damage testing equipment.

The crowd can be seen entering the test and trace centre and throwing traffic cones towards the marquee set up to administer tests.

Others are shown knocking down signs for the testing centre, while the crowd is heard shouting “shame on you”.

One anti-vaxxer is filmed entering a marquee on the test site and appears to take equipment with her as she leaves. Credit: Twitter

One member of the group is shown entering the facility where she appears to take test kits and equipment away with her.

Another incident was filmed at a children's panto in Milton Keynes on the same day.

It's unclear if the group were the same as the one at the test and trace centre, but after forcing their way into the foyer at MK Theatre, the crowd was escorted out by police.

In a statement, MK Theatre said their staff and customers were left frightened.

MPs described the test centre protest as "despicable" and health secretary Sajid Javid described it as "vile behaviour" and "unacceptable".

Home secretary Priti Patel stressed: "It is more important than ever that people have their vaccinations and booster jabs and it is completely unacceptable that conspiracy theorists are intimidating and harassing those administering tests or delivering the life-saving vaccine programme."

"People will be watching it in disbelief in many ways," Labour's Lucy Powell told ITV News.

"The vaccine programme is incredibly safe and it's absolutely critical to us getting out of this situation with the pandemic. It's a matter of life and death," Ms Powell said.

The shadow culture secretary said the government "should be doing a great deal more than it is doing to clamp down" on misinformation and anti-vax action.

'The anti-vax sabotages are despicable, and people will be watching it in disbelief'

"There is a real proliferation now, a massive spreading of misinformation and anti-vax sentiment online and the government should be doing a lot more to clamp down on that and to demand the platform get rid of this content and close down these accounts," Ms Powell said.

She called for online legislation to help regulate social media giants to be brought in faster.

Local MP Ben Everitt slammed the protesters as "d***heads. The staff & volunteers at our vax centres do an amazing job. Nobody deserves this at work," he said on Twitter.

"I hope @ThamesVP get the evidence needed to bring these morons to justice."

The Tory MP called for anyone with information or videos to contact police.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow secretary of state for international trade, described the protest as “dreadful”, at a site where “NHS staff are working over the festive season to help others”.

And Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, said the scenes were “disgraceful”.

Matthew Barber, Conservative Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said it was “appalling” to see the protest “escalate into something much uglier”.

The crowd threw traffic cones and carried signs with misinformation about the pandemic. Credit: Twitter

He added that he had spoken to Thames Valley Police officers to discuss the police response on Wednesday evening, and said that “criminal offences will be investigated and appropriate action taken”.

“All of the events will be reviewed to help plan for future protest events and ensure that colleagues in the NHS can continue their fantastic work in delivering the vaccine roll out,” he said.

Thames Valley Police said that no arrests had been made, but that they had footage of the incident.

“Thames Valley Police is aware of an anti-vaccination protest that took place in central Milton Keynes this afternoon,” a spokesperson said.

“Where criminal offences have been disclosed, we will take swift action and bring offenders to justice.

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