SOCIAL media users are urging residents of Oxford to join two unlawful 'mass gatherings' in the city today (Saturday).

A poster being shared on Facebook urges people to meet up at University Parks and Hinksey Park, off Abingdon Road, from 12pm.

UPDATE: Wash out - empty park despite calls for mass gathering

Police have said they plan to 'engage' with anyone trying to take part, and use enforcement only as a last resort.

The poster states: “Join the UK freedom movement and be a part of the largest mass gathering since the lockdown.

“We say no to the Coronavirus Bill, no to mandatory vaccines, no to the new normal and no to the unlawful lockdown.”

It also urges people to bring a picnic and music, 'have some fun and say yes to life'.

Oxford Mail:

University Parks, Oxford. Picture: Google Maps

Under current government rules, individuals in England are allowed to meet with one other person from outside their household if they stay outdoors and stay two metres apart at all times, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

More than 33,000 people have now died from Covid-19 in the UK, and more than 160 in Oxfordshire alone.

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This week the county's new director of public health Ansaf Azhar said that tracking and tracing local outbreaks of the virus would be crucial in order to stopping the spread locally.

Responding to the plans for 'mass gatherings' in Oxford and other locations, Thames Valley Police Chief Superintendent Steve Williams said: "Thames Valley Police is aware of a number of mass gatherings being organised in the region this weekend.

Oxford Mail:

Hinksey Park, Abingdon Road. Picture: Google Maps

"We are really grateful to those members of the public who have contacted us with their concerns and we are now reviewing this information and the reports we have received from the public. 

"We will continue to assess the information we have in the coming days to ensure that we are able to respond to any unlawful activity and enforce the law fairly and appropriately.

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"As always our approach will be to engage, explain and encourage, with enforcement as a last resort.

“The government has been clear that they do not want large gatherings of people in public places as this poses a significant risk of transmission. Our local communities will also not want large gatherings when we are all trying to protect our loved-ones during this pandemic that has killed so many thousands of people."