A BREAKAWAY group of anti-vaccine protestors left a rally in Southend Town centre and abused staff at a Covid vaccination centre.

Staff at the walk-in clinic at the Civic Centre in Victoria Road, Southend were left “unsettled and threatened” following the hostile behaviour by the group on Saturday and Sunday.

The behaviour has been condemned by a leading councillor who said they will not stop until the culprits are found.

The group came away from a large protest that began at Warrior Square Park in Southend on Saturday.

Organisers insisted the demonstration, which marched from the park to the seafront via the high street, was not anti-vaccine, but a protest against the government’s plans for vaccine passports to enter venues such as nightclubs from September.

The walk-in vaccination centre is being run by Southend Council and the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).


A spokesman for Southend Council said: “We can confirm that a breakaway group from last weekend’s anti-vaccination protest arrived at the council’s Civic Centre vaccination site on Saturday and were hostile towards staff running the centre.

“Protestors returned to the Civic Centre on the Sunday and continued their hostile and abusive behaviour.

“Thankfully no staff were harmed but it was an unsettling experience that left staff feeling threatened.”

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, said: “I totally condemn this behaviour – staff should never be subjected to this kind of abuse and should be able to do their job safely without feeling unsettled and threatened.

"We have 24-hour on-site security in place at the Civic Centre and they were able to monitor and diffuse the situation along with police officers.

“We will be reviewing CCTV to try and identify the culprits.

"I want to reassure staff and volunteers that we are doing everything we can to ensure they can safely carry out their duties and I also want to reassure residents that the Civic Centre remains a safe place to come and get vaccinated.”

An Essex Police spokesman said officers visited the vaccination centre for reassurance and advice but there was nothing to suggest the protestors made it into the venue.