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Parents mount Cabinet Office protest over masks in schools

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Protesters who oppose mandatory mask wearing for schoolchildren gather on the grounds of Cabinet Office (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)
Protesters hang their up masks on the main door into the Cabinet Office (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)
Youngsters hold up signs at a protest demanding an end to mandatory mask wearing in the classroom (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

Face masks were hung on the doorknob to the Cabinet Office on Saturday as part of a protest against mandatory mask wearing in schools as part of the battle against Covid-19.

About 50 people gathered on the grounds, including around 20 children, after the Government retained mandatory mask wearing, including for children in their classrooms, despite the announcement of a relaxation of many coronavirus restrictions yesterday.

The protesters asked not to be identified and no one claimed responsibility for the organisation of the event, although banners from pressure group Us For Them Bermuda were visible.

A poster for the event, which ran from 2pm to 6pm, was circulated on social media

It said the “Bermuda Government has forgotten the children of Bermuda”.

But it added: “We, the people, have not forgotten. Come and stand for our children. Unmask our children.”

One mother of three said: “I am in full support of this event – especially after seeing the SafeKey dropped and increasing gatherings to 100, everybody can go about their business, but the kids have not been protected whatsoever.

“It is like they are being held hostage.

“They have to wear masks indoors, sitting at their desks, minding their own business but they have to be masked.”

The woman added: “Adults can sit in their conference rooms without masks. All of my children have to be masked but masks don’t work.”

Youngsters held up signs in support of the protest.

One said “Stop stealing our childhood” and another “Let me breathe”.

A 16-year-old schoolboy said he hoped the mask mandate in schools would be dropped.

He added: “We have to wear masks all times we are sitting at a desk, walking to classes, even some sports they still make you wear them.

“I play volleyball and it is hard to breathe when you are doing an activity like that.

“If your mask is down the teachers will just tell you to put it back up. I would like for kids to have an option.”

A father of two said: “We would like to see consideration for our children. Never in history have we sacrificed our kids to protect the older generation – we have always looked after our kids first. They also don’t have a voice to speak out for themselves.”

Representatives from UFTB, which opposes government regulations aimed at children, including quarantine for close contacts of the infected, said that it did not organise the event – but backed its aims.

An UFTB member added: “I think it is very important to change all the restrictions on children while children around the world are moving on and adults are moving on.

“Children in their own bubble still have to wear a mask even though they are with the same people – it’s not even like going to a restaurant.

“I don’t understand why children have to bear the burden of protecting the community.”

Another member of the group said: “It seems there was no central organisation from the perspective of Us For Them – we just saw the poster. What it was saying was largely in line with what we are saying.”

The activist added: “I think there would have been more people here if it wasn’t the start of half-term. Half of our leadership team are away.”

The Government has yet to respond for a request for comment on the protest.

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Published February 07, 2022 at 11:15 am (Updated February 07, 2022 at 11:15 am)

Parents mount Cabinet Office protest over masks in schools

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