PLANNED mass gatherings by anti-lockdown groups failed to materialise in Swindon at the weekend.

A poster which circulated on social media called on people to protest against the government’s coronavirus measures at Coate Water and Lawns parks on Saturday at noon.

But the kind of demonstrations witnessed at Hyde Park did not materialise as families and those exercising kept their distance from one another.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “I am very glad that fellow residents weren’t persuaded to attend either gathering.

“Thanks are due to everyone for their patience, understanding and common sense in this difficult time.”

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson agreed with his counterpart's comments.

He said: “Thankfully the Swindon community remains united in helping fight Covid-19.

“We would not throw away all the progress and sacrifices made to support some half-baked, self-indulgent and downright dangerous protest.”

On the Adver's Facebook page, people were equally pleased.

Tina Bumble commented: “Proud to think that Swindon has shown its worth to the rest of the country, it’s happening in other places.

“Well done Swindon.”

Lynda Orchard added: “What did they expect? The virus is dangerous.

“It’s not man flu or a headache, it’s serious. Anyone with sense would know to keep away.

“Well done Swindon for not turning up.”

Around 50 people defied social distancing to gather close together at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, holding placards with slogans like “anti-vax deserves a voice” and “freedom over fear”.

Dozens of police officers, including some mounted on horseback, patrolled the protest, issuing several fines and arresting at least six people.

Demonstrator Catherine Harvey, 62, said she was defying the rules to highlight the “devastation this lockdown has caused”.

The shop owner said: “Developing countries will have no trade, no tourism. I have had to close my shop on Columbia Road Flower Market. It’s unnecessary.”

Meanwhile, the Great Western Hospital has recorded no Covid-19 deaths for two days in a row, while yesterday’s UK figure of 170 was the lowest since lockdown began two months ago.

Six more cases of coronavirus were confirmed for Swindon over the weekend, taking the total to 433.