Protesters clash in city centre over ’15-minute city’ conspiracy theory

Hundreds turned out amid protests and counter-protests held outside Liverpool Town Hall this evening.

Demonstrators were situated on opposite sides of Water Street in tense scenes before the meeting of the full Liverpool Council in the civic building. Banners and placards were held aloft while both sides chanted in the second public gathering over plans by the local authority to implement a new neighbourhood model.

Activists equipped with banners sought to air their grievances over widely debunked theories around 15-minute cities and how the new 13 neighbourhood areas across Liverpool would infringe on their civil liberties.

With a beefed up police presence around the Town Hall and Water Street, campaigners played music and chanted as councillors stood in front of the main door of the building. Banners were held with slogans such as “say no to Liverpool 13 zones,” “climate change is a hoax” and “we do not consent.”

In July, Liverpool Council adopted a new model that will divide the city into 13 neighbourhoods, each led by a senior manager who will be permanently situated in the area. They will each work with departments across the council to highlight and tackle the key issues in the area, be it housing, waste management, potholes, parking, or anti-social behaviour.

Some campaigners said they felt they would be barred from leaving their designated areas under the scheme and ultimately fined for doing so. This is not true.

A 15-minute city is an urban planning concept that proposes the redesign of neighbourhoods to ensure vital amenities are within easy reach. 

One protester said, “We are not about left or right, it’s about our rights. We’re here for our children’s future and freedom.”

A number of speeches were made on loud hailers accusing councillors of being part of the “Labour communist party” and “selling out to the World Economic Forum” while being sold to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The rally was attended by among others, Rickie Lambert, the former Liverpool FC striker, who had actively promoted the event on social media.

Posting ahead of the meeting, Mr Lambert wrote, “People of Liverpool, start researching 15 minute city’s because they are coming our way very shortly if we allow it! WE DO NOT CONSENT!!!”

The protest remained largely peaceful, bar a brief scuffle as individuals dressed in balaclavas and dark clothing clashed. 

After the council meeting got underway, demonstrators moved towards Derby Square outside the court buildings where speakers said it was a “battle” and they would be saved by God.

One speaker, wearing The People’s Resistance hoodie, said, “I know you will all be in the streets when they lock us down,” adding: “Your children and grandchildren will thank you… we are on the right side of history, they are wrong.”

Around 30 protestors gathered outside the Town Hall at the end of the council meeting, causing Lord Mayor Mary Rasmussen to advise members they would once again leave out of a side door for their own safety.

Image Source: David Humphreys/LDRS

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