19 June 2020| | 2 min read
Open letter from the City of Newcastle
The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental part of our democracy, and it is part of what makes Newcastle a great northern city.
But the disorder seen last Saturday from a small minority has no place here or anywhere else.
This weekend more protests are planned. It is also the first weekend of shops reopening after lockdown.
It’s expected to be busy. Retailers are working hard to keep their businesses afloat in these anxious times and we wish them well.
While we always facilitate the right to lawful protest, we would urge people to take heed of the Public Health advice.
Mass gatherings are currently banned for more than six people due to the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We ask people to think twice about coming to the city to protest in the current circumstances and make their views known in other ways.
Anybody who comes into our city with the intention of causing serious disorder is not welcome.
A number of arrests were made on Saturday as a result of the protest activity and several more suspects have been brought into custody this week as a police investigation continues.
The city centre and shops have been remodelled to assist social distancing. Everyone needs to keep two metres apart from those not in their household or bubble, practise good hand hygiene, wear face coverings on public transport and avoid overcrowded pinch points.
Complacency is our greatest enemy in the fight against the virus. We don’t just owe it to ourselves and to each other but also to the care workers, paramedics, doctors and nurses who have toiled under great pressure for months to save lives.
Our diverse friendly city has shown real grit and determination throughout a pandemic which has amplified inequalities in society.
The safety of everyone is our utmost priority. However, people must also take responsibility for themselves to tackle the invisible enemy that is COVID-19. The virus is still out there and so we remind everyone to behave in a way which does not spread it. Stay safe.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council
Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council
Helen McMillan, Assistant Chief Constable, Northumbria Police
Martin Kearney, Chief Operating Officer, Nexus
Paul Liversidge, Deputy Chief Executive, North East Ambulance Service
Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner
Adrian Waddell, Chief Executive,Newcastle NE1 Limited