Anti-vaccine protesters occupied ITV News and Channel 4 News headquarters in London on Monday afternoon, the latest in a series of actions targeted at the media.
Jon Snow, the host of Channel 4 News, was chased into one of the building’s side entrances by conspiracy theorists.
Livestream footage showed hundreds of protesters shouting scientifically unsupported claims about the Covid-19 vaccine program and accusing the media of promoting so-called vaccine passports, which they believe are inconsistent with British values.
After marching from King’s Cross Station to ITN Headquarters on Gray’s Inn Road, protesters were met by two uniformed police officers guarding the revolving doors of the building. However, they were immediately let through an emergency exit, apparently by a supporter who was already in the building.
The protesters then stranded in the building’s reception, separated by a glass wall from ITN journalists sitting in their offices, with both groups filming each other. Eventually police reinforcements arrived to evacuate the building.
Although the majority of the UK public now has a Covid-19 vaccine and the UK has one of the highest intake rates in the world, the ongoing nature of anti-vaccine protests has created particular concern among news industry executives.
They are struggling to figure out how to protect their journalists from harassment, both online and in person, especially after an incident involving BBC Newsnight political editor Nick Watt outside Downing Street.
There has been confusion among anti-vaccination opponents as to which media they are targeting. Earlier this month a group was given access to the former BBC headquarters at the Television Center in protest of BBC News, although the building is now used for the production of ITV’s Loose Women. Similarly, several of the people who livestreamed the occupation of the ITN building on Monday afternoon appeared to be operating on the mistaken assumption that they had taken over the headquarters of the Daily Mail.
The protesters later went to Google’s central London offices, where they were again met by police officers.