Protesters rally against vaccine passports and masks in 'unplanned' march

Police were called in today to manage an ‘unplanned’ protest of 1,000 people in Scotland’s biggest city.

The rampant spread of the Omicron variant all over the UK prompted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to curb Scots’ freedoms further before Christmas.

Unlike England, Scottish venues selling alcohol can only provide table service, one-metre social distancing is required again and night clubs are closed.

The rules meant the nation’s infamous Hogmanay celebrations on New Year’s Eve were canceled, with Sturgeon telling her people to ‘stay at home more than normal’.

Many of the restrictions are supposed to come to an end on Monday, but this did not stop big groups of people from protesting against their existence in the first place.

Anti-lockdowners gathered at around 1pm at Glasgow Green and then marched through the city’s busiest spots. Police had to rush to control the crowd as the demonstration was ‘unplanned’.

A spokesperson said at the time: ‘Officers are currently facilitating an unplanned procession in Glasgow City centre to ensure public safety and minimise disruption to the community.’

People held up signs focusing mainly on vaccine passports and mask-wearing requirements.

One man painted a yellow sign which read: ‘You should be the only person to decide how well you can breath [sic]’.

Another marcher in a V for Vendetta mask asked people: ‘Do you trust your government with your life?’.

Responding to the protests, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘Covid-19 vaccinations are entirely voluntary in Scotland, and those for children will only take place with the appropriate consent.

‘Getting vaccinated saves lives and helps protect the NHS by making it much less likely that people will need hospital treatment if they do get Covid.

‘Deliberately spreading misinformation about the vaccine is irresponsible and reckless, and anyone doing so should be ignored.’

It is believed the demonstration was organised by Scotland Against Lockdown – a group against mandating vaccines and face masks.

The ‘freedom rally’ organisation has also come out in support of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic who was denied entry into Melbourne for the Australian Open for not revealing whether he is vaccinated or not.

Scotland seems to be battling a spike in coronavirus cases – taking just seven days to jump from 6,976 to 14,006 daily cases in the week ending January 2.

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There are currently 1,362 Scots in hospital with the virus, 48 of which are in intensive care.

It comes as NHS Grampian, an area stretching from the Highlands to the east coast, warned it may soon have to declare a major incident because of a ‘exponential growth’ in cases.

Some 20 NHS trusts have already declared a major incident, with the military sending in medics to help the NHS with staff shortages and increasing patients.

There are hopes that cases and hospitalisations will soon flat-line – meaning the UK has reached its peak with Omicron.

Indeed, cases have seen a reduction in the last two days in England – after nearly a month of daily increases.

Omicron may also be making coronavirus easier to live with, in the long run, according to a leading doctor the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M).

Dr Mike Tildesley told Times Radio: ‘The thing that might happen in the future is you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and ultimately, in the long term, what happens is Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version.

‘It’s very similar to the common cold that we’ve lived with for many years.’

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has welcomed several ‘good, encouraging’ studies which show that Omicron could be up to 70% less likely to cause severe illness and therefore death.

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