An extraordinary suggestion that York is installing gates and turnstiles to limit the movement of pedestrians has been seen more than 700,000 times on social media.
Now City of York Council officials have dismissed the conspiracy theory, describing it is both ‘wrongful’ and ‘incorrect’.
A Twitter account – run by someone not from the city – shared a photograph of the anti-terror bollards now being installed on Lendal.
Karen Wakefield wrote in her Tweet: “So the gates are going up with the turnstyles like in china are the uk people really going to accept this?”
And although she only has 614 followers Ms Wakefield – Twitter bio “standing up to the psychos in power i will never comply” – sparked a storm, with more than 9,700 retweets and likes, hundreds of replies and 706K views.
Later she wrote: “I hope the people stop it or destroy them, like they are with the cameras, we need to show the parasite councils we are not like the citizens of china or north korea, yrs back people would have never accepred this, whats happened?”
When another tweeter pointed out that the bollards in the picture “look nothing like gates” she wrote: “Its probably in the process of becoming gates someone who lives in york sent it and if your aware what plans the WEF have to keep us trapped in our zones then its very likely hsppening the wef state we wont travel 15 mins from our homes.”
WEF is short for the World Economic Forum.
As YorkMix has reported, the movable bollards now being installed on Lendal and High Petergate are anti-terror measures requested by police. They are designed to stop a hostile vehicle attack when the footstreets are operating.
Many people pointed this out on the Twitter feed, but were dismissed as gullible or sheep by conspiracy theorists.
City of York Council are aware of the misinformation and have moved to put the record straight.
A spokesperson from City of York Council said: “As has been done in a number of cities worldwide, work is currently being carried out in locations across York, including on Lendal, to install hostile vehicle mitigation measures.
“The council is aware of a small number of social media posts which wrongfully suggest that these are pedestrian turnstiles.
“This is incorrect; these are bollards which will move electronically from side to side.
“These measures will control vehicle access into the city centre, allowing pedestrians, wheelchairs, and buggies to move through them freely.”
A ban on blue badge holders parking on the footstreets, brought in as part of the same anti-terror measures, sparked outrage as disabled people said it effectively barred them from the city centre.
Labour won this month’s council election and are now working to overturn the ban, in accordance with their manifesto pledge.