A man who attended an anti-lockdown protest in Manchester has defended his decision to take part in the demonstration, which broke lockdown rules on gatherings.

Dave Burnett from Burnley went to Piccadilly Gardens last Sunday, to join thousands of others as they marched through the streets of Manchester, demonstrating against the lockdown.

Mr Burnett, 55, said he arrived in Manchester early, and gathered with others in the city centre.

He said despite four arrests, which he claims were made long after the majority of the crowds dispersed, the protest was peaceful, and united those who are of the same opinion when it comes to the way the coronavirus pandemic has been dealt with.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Burnett, who works in the motor industry, said: "There were far more than 600 people protesting that day, contrary to what the press said.

"There were people of all different ages, religions and backgrounds, and all we did was walk round the streets of Manchester.

"I went to protest because I believe we are being misled; and I think others are beginning to realise that information we are being given by the government isn't right.

"We are in lockdown for Covid-19, but anyone can go on the NHS website and access the data, which shows the amount of people to actually die FROM Covid-19 in NHS hospitals as of last week, is 1,614.

"Those people with underlying health conditions, who have died WITH Covid-19 is 34,026.

"The average life expectancy in the UK is 81; we are being told that this is a deadly virus, but the average age of people dying with Covid is 82.

"It's killing people that flu would normally kill - which is more than 10,000 people a year.

"If it was so deadly, why is it not killing more young people?

"If you look at the flu figures for 2019-20, only about 500 people have died from flu...where have all the other flu deaths gone? Has flu just magically disappeared?"

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Burnett says he thinks the figures are extremely misleading, and wishes people would do their own research into the data, which is widely available online.

He said if you look at the death rate for 2020 and compare it to the death rate last year, there is not much of a difference.

According to the ONS, in September, there were 39,827 deaths registered in England, 2,568 deaths more than the five-year average (2015 to 2019) for September.

The leading cause of death in September was dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and the coronavirus (Covid-19) did not feature in the top ten leading causes of death for deaths registered in September, in England or Wales; in England, Covid-19 was the 19th most common cause of death.

In July, there were 38,179 deaths registered in England, just 576 deaths higher than the five-year average.

Mr Burnett said the first lockdown was based on a projected 500,000 deaths in a worst case scenario, and at first it was frightening.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He said: "I was scared at first. Back in March when we locked down the first time; I obeyed all the rules.

"But then I started looking at the figures and they didn't add up.

"The figures we have are of people dying with Covid, we are never told about those who have died of Covid alone.

"Also, why do you need to have a test to find out if you have a deadly virus? If it was deadly surely you'd know about it, or you'd be dead?

"The government have admitted there's been false positives with these tests also, so we are being misled."

Collapsing the economy and causing businesses to fold and lives to fall apart is not justified by the figures, claims Mr Burnett, saying mental health issues will continue to soar the longer we are locked down.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He added: "We went to Manchester to protest because we are not being told the truth; questioning of the current narrative is being quashed by the mainstream media.

"The amount of people losing their jobs, their homes, their businesses is unacceptable. That's even before we look at how much debt we are going to be in as a country following this - billions, if not trillions.

"We are trying to raise awareness, and trying to get the true stats out there.

"However, because of this we are labelled as tin foil hat wearing lunatics - but we are not being proved wrong.

"The figures are there, the data is there - and I suggest people start looking for themselves."

Lancashire Telegraph:

Following the protests, head of special operations and public order at Greater Manchester Police, ACC Nick Bailey, made an appeal to anyone considering organising or attending an 'illegal mass gathering' or 'protest' to reconsider.

He said: "Think about the impact these events are having on our communities, on our health service and the ability of police to keep the public safe.

"We are all familiar with the risks the coronavirus presents, and the gatherings we have seen are against Covid legislation, and risk spreading the virus and prolonging the restrictions placed on our region.

"Since Thursday November 5, the legislation has changed, and protests are no longer exempt from these restrictions.

"This means that whilst we are in lockdown, any gatherings of more than two people outside who don't live together are illegal, and police are obligated to disperse these gatherings.

"Whilst we will continue to engage, explain and encourage compliance before enforcing, people must take responsibility for their actions, and where gatherings or protests take place we are obliged to take action through dispersal and the imposing of fines to attendees and organisers.

"We simply cannot sit back and allow these gatherings to take place.

"We all want to come out of the health crisis with a clear conscience knowing we did everything we could to stop the spread of the virus."