A group of protesters gathered at the newly-built Wellingborough prison this afternoon (Friday, December 17) because they believe it is going to become a quarantine camp for unvaccinated people.
The group of about 20 had travelled from various parts of the country to the new £253m HMP Five Wells because they say that the Government is planning to use it, along with four other prisons, to forcibly hold people who have not been vaccinated.
The protest was arranged by a group of Covid sceptics including Piers Corbyn and several of those there said they had come along to hear him speak - but he had not arrived by the time Northants Telegraph reporters left the scene 45 minutes after the 1pm start-time.
One woman, who would not give her name but said she had come from Shrewsbury, said: "Piers is always late."
Mr Corbyn faced a police investigation earlier this year after he produced a leaflet likening Covid-19 vaccination efforts to the Auschwitz concentration camps.
One of the speakers was Covid-denier Debbie Hicks, who is facing a trial in January over filming inside a hospital that she said was empty at the height of the pandemic.
There were several Northants Police officers in attendance and the prison's own security staff were on standby.
Although the group could not provide any evidence for their claims over the plans for the prison, one man who again declined to be named said: "We're concerned this is a huge rehabilitation centre for dissenters. They started to build it as a prison and then it's become this quarantine centre."
A female protester said: "You just need to open your eyes to see what's happening here."
The prison has been planned since 2018, two years before the pandemic began. It will be one of the biggest prisons in the country and will house 1,600 offenders, many of whom will be at the end of long sentences and preparing for life outside of prison. It is due to open next month.
Another protester said: "This has been planned for years. They always knew what it was going to be."
Leaflets likened the prison to internment camps in Australia that they claim have been built to quarantine those who are unvaccinated. In fact, he only quarantine facilities in Australia are those for people travelling to the country from abroad who are required to spend 14 days there to avoid spreading Covid in the community.
Christian Specchio from Little Harrowden said he had come along to hear Piers Corbyn, adding: "I've followed him quite a lot over the past couple of years and I'm quite interested in what he has to say."
He said that he thought it was a possibility that the prison would be used for the unvaccinated.
"I'm not sure why they knocked down the old one in the first place," he said.
A Wellingborough mum who had come along, who also declined to be named, said that she was there for her children and grandchildren.
"I've not seen people that are desperately ill but I have seen other people suffering different effects of the pandemic.
"I've seen what's happening in Austria and I think that will come to every country. There are very few of us at the moment but there are more than there were, and people are changing their minds."
Austria has the lowest vaccination rate in Europe, with just 66 per cent of adults fully vaccinated. The Government has recently said it will make vaccines mandatory in order to stop the total collapse of the healthcare system.
One man from Kettering said that he was concerned about what had been happening and that he believed it was better to protest now than to take a chance.
Deeply offensive, anti-semitic signs carried by some of the protesters, which the Northants Telegraph has chosen not to show here, compared the new prison to a concentration camp. One man had a Star of David on the back of his clothing.
Among completely unfounded claims from members of the protest were that lateral flow tests can be faked with lemon juice, that PCR tests are useless and that there have been 1,824 deaths from people who have had the vaccine. That figure comes from the Yellow Card reporting system, which allows individuals to report any suspected reactions or side effects even if the reporter isn’t sure that it was caused by the vaccine. The MHRA has made it clear that a yellow card report does not necessarily mean the vaccine caused that reaction or event.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 11.1m people in the UK have contracted Covid and 147,000 people have died within 28 days of a positive test. Today, there have been more than 93,000 new cases and 111 deaths in the UK after new variant Omicron began to take hold.
The Ministry of Justice said it did not wish to comment on the protest.