Dozens of people were spotted sitting together in a Liverpool park on Saturday afternoon after a poster was circulated online encouraging a mass gathering in violation of the lockdown rules.
Photos taken in the park show dozens of people sitting together in the park – apparently violating social distancing rules – while being spoken to by police officers.
Officers on horseback were also in attendance at Newsham Park in Fairfield as members of the group appeared to take photos and video on their mobile phones.
Earlier this week a poster was circulated on social media promoting a protest in Liverpool and Wirral at the weekend.
The poster, which appeared to be organised by an anti-vaccinations group called the UK Freedom Movement, encouraged people to become part of the "largest mass gathering since the lockdown" with reference to two specific events apparently being planned on both sides of the river.
At the time that the posters emerged, Liverpool councillors branded them "a disgrace".
Many similar events have been advertised as taking place this weekend across the country in defiance of social distancing rules, with a large group seen gathering in Hyde Park in London.
Earlier this week, Merseyside Police said the force was aware of plans for gatherings in two Merseyside parks this weekend.
A police spokesperson said:“The public are encouraged to continue observing government guidance and are advised to not put themselves and others at risk.
"We will continue to engage with our communities, explaining why it is important to abide by restrictions and those who continue to ignore this advice, will face the necessary consequences.”
On Saturday morning, Liverpool City Council asked residents to avoid gatherings in parks ahead of the proposed protests.
The Council tweeted: "Please avoid group gatherings in parks. Restrictions are still in place and social distancing still applies.
"Stay safe, follow the guidelines and protect each other."
Under the current guidance, individuals are only permitted to meet one person outside their household and they must remain two metres apart at all times.
Speaking to the Echo earlier this week, Liverpool Council's cabinet member for health, Cllr Paul Brant, slammed the prospective protests as "selfish".
Cllr Brant said: "It is completely selfish to expose the wider population to increased risk of spreading the virus at a time when the death rates are just starting to fall in the City.
"The figures speak for themselves: City deaths are up almost 400 in the past month."
Top news stories
Cllr Brant added: "“Every day, NHS and care home staff are putting their own lives on the line to care for those who are falling sick with the virus.
“It is beyond recklessly stupid to hold this type of event and anyone taking part could end up putting their own life or those of their loved ones at risk because you can be carrying it without displaying any symptoms.
“My plea to everyone at this time is to please follow the guidance and minimise the chance of spreading what is a killer virus."