POLICE are set to step up patrols at a Renfrewshire park tomorrow after protestors posted flyers on social media advertising a mass gathering with picnics and music.

A group known as the UK Freedom Movement has been promoting a planned get-together at Barshaw Park, in Paisley, inviting people to join them in saying "no to the lockdown" from noon.

The proposed gathering appears to be one of many across the UK advertised by the group, who claim the Covid-19 lockdown is “unlawful” and say they are against mandatory vaccines.

Posters which have been circulating on social media read: “Bring a picnic, some music and let’s have some fun and say yes to life.

“We say no to the coronavirus bill, no to mandatory vaccines, no to the new normal and no to the unlawful lockdown.”

Inspector Tracy Harkins, of Paisley’s community policing team, said officers had been aware of the planned events for a while but, so far, none of them had come to fruition.

However, she added that officers will be keeping a close eye out for any signs of an illegal gathering being held at the park.

“We are aware of this group and the recent Facebook post regarding the organisation of a gathering at Barshaw Park,” said Inspector Harkins.

“Local officers will be ensuring extra attention in the area. However, I don’t envisage residents risking their safety by participating in such an event.”

Mass gatherings have been banned in Scotland since March 16 as part of measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, who represents Paisley Northwest, has condemned the planned gathering and raised the issue with police and council bosses.

In a written reply to Councillor MacLaren, police said mounted officers, as well as those on patrol, will be ready to intervene if any gathering takes place.

Councillor MacLaren said: “I know some people are finding it difficult staying at home but there is a good reason for the lockdown – it aims to save lives.

“This ill-thought-out plan is encouraging the public to break the law and, by doing so, endangering their lives and those of their families.

“This group have been posting their proposed gatherings all over social media. Don’t listen to them. Attempting to take part in any gathering would breach the legislation to protect lives and could lead to those involved not only facing a fine but also endangering their lives.

“I’ve already contacted both the police and council officials to ensure that they are aware of this proposed gathering.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond


Scotland is in lockdown. Shops are closing and newspaper sales are falling fast. We're not exaggerating when we say the future of local newspapers and the vital service we have provided for many years is under threat.

Please consider supporting The Gazette in whatever way you can - by paying just 90p for a copy of the newspaper when you're shopping for essential supplies for yourself and others or by subscribing to our e-edition here.