United Kingdom

Vaccine protesters clash with police at AstraZeneca's HQ in Cambridge

Protesters demanding that AstraZeneca share its Covid-19 vaccine technology have clashed with police outside the pharmaceutical giant's headquarters.

A group of mostly young activists blocked the entrance to the firm's main building in a Cambridge business park.

The protestors are accusing the pharmaceutical company of profiting during the pandemic and to demand the jab is openly licensed and shared with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

One protester holding a sign reading 'human life not profit', chained himself to a door while others climbed on to the roof of the entryway and unfurled a banner which read 'people's vaccine not profit vaccine'.

Other masked activists were seen in videos chanting and beating drums and a banner unfurled at the site read: 'We demand a people's vaccine.'

There have been reports of at least two arrests at the gathering. Uniformed officers could be seen nearby. 

Protesters demanding that AstraZeneca share its Covid-19 vaccine technology have clashed with police outside the pharmaceutical giant's Cambridge headquarters

The demonstration, organised by Global Justice Now, is demanding the pharmaceutical firm share Covid vaccine blueprints with the World Health Organization

Global Justice Now said the action, which coincided with AstraZeneca's annual general meeting, also seeks to persuade Oxford University to make all of its future medical innovations open-licensed

The Telegraph reported that activists have also gathered at AstraZeneca's Macclesfield site in Cheshire and at the University of Oxford, which worked with AstraZeneca to develop the vaccine. 

Global Justice Now, who organised the protests, said the action, which coincided with AstraZeneca's annual general meeting, also seeks to persuade Oxford University to make all of its future medical innovations open-licensed.

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said: 'Scientists at Oxford University, a publicly-funded institution, developed this lifesaving vaccine through a research and development process that was 97 per cent publicly funded.

The social justice organisation claims that AstraZeneca has not yet joined the WHO's Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, which facilitates the sharing of technology for vaccines and treatments

The protestors are accusing the pharmaceutical company of profiting during the pandemic and to demand the jab is openly licensed and shared with the World Health Organisation (WHO)

A group of mostly young activists blocked the entrance to the firm's main building in a Cambridge business park

'The resulting vaccine should have been openly accessible to everyone, but AstraZeneca swooped in and privatised it.

'The UK is reaping the benefits of the highly effective vaccines that are now available, but people in low and middle-income countries are still dying daily by the thousands from Covid-19.

'AstraZeneca like to portray themselves as the good guys, but they've boycotted attempts to pool the vaccine knowledge they control just like all the other pharma giants - and now claim they have no time to share this knowledge globally.

There have been reports of at least two arrests at the gathering. Uniformed officers could be seen nearby

One protester holding a sign reading 'human life not profit', chained himself to a door while others climbed on to the roof of the entryway and unfurled a banner which read 'people's vaccine not profit vaccine'

Nick Dearden, director of protest organisers Global Justice Now, said: 'Scientists at Oxford University, a publicly-funded institution, developed this lifesaving vaccine through a research and development process that was 97 per cent publicly funded

'Today, we're demanding AstraZeneca pool this publicly created knowledge so the whole world can ramp up production of these vaccines.'

The social justice organisation claims that AstraZeneca has not yet joined the WHO's Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, which facilitates the sharing of technology for vaccines and treatments.

It comes as the group put up posters at bus stops across the UK over the weekend to highlight the level of public investment in vaccine research and development and the profits made by pharmaceutical companies.

AstraZeneca has been contacted for comment.

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