Sturgeon under pressure as hundreds protest against coronavirus restrictions

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Demonstrators gathered outside Holyrood in Edinburgh carrying placards, banners and flags. Messages included “facts not fear”, “Covid is a hoax”, “no to mandatory masks or vaccines” and “let us live our lives”.

The Scotland Against Lockdown protest was organised by the Saving Scotland Facebook group.

A post advertising the rally said: “Time to stand up together and listen to real scientific evidence in regards to the health of the Scottish people.

“This evidence is being buried by MSM, big pharma and more than a few politicians.

“Lockdown is causing more harm than the virus. We stand for the freedom to choose.

“No to mandatory vaccines and masks. No to secondary lockdowns.

“We are a large group of concerned individuals that realise the damage this can do to our children, the economy etc.”

Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch condemned the protest.

He told BBC One Scotland’s Reporting Scotland programme: “Firstly, it’s irresponsible to gather and put yourself, your family and others at risk.

“And the second is, I don’t fully understand their point.

“Do they think we’re making it up? That the world is some kind of global pandemic conspiracy?

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“Because nobody’s involved me in a conspiracy – I see people getting very sick and dying all over the world from this disease.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We were aware of a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh during the afternoon of September 5.

“Officers attended and provided a proportionate response. No arrests were made and the gathering has now dispersed.”

The protest comes as Scotland has recorded its biggest weekly increase in coronavirus cases since May.

A total of 994 people tested positive for the deadly virus in the past seven days, almost double the 507 new infections the week before.

The last time weekly cases were higher was May 17, although there have been changes to the Scottish Government’s reporting of figures since then.

The number of coronavirus cases has risen by 141 in the past 24 hours, taking the total number since the start of the outbreak to 21,189.

No new deaths have been reported, with the toll remaining at 2,496.

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