MOBILE PHONE MASTS in the UK are still being attacked by arsonists on a daily basis. New data seen by WIRED UK reveals that dozens of attacks have taken place in the last fortnight targeting both infrastructure and key workers in the belief that they are spreading coronavirus.
Since March 30, there have been 77 arson attacks on mobile phone masts across the UK, with staff working on mobile infrastructure also reporting 180 incidents of abuse. There have been 13 additional incidents of sabotage reported, ranging from failed arson attacks to attempts to damage mobile network infrastructure in other ways. From April 20 through May 5, more than a week after the supposed peak of attacks in early April, there were 16 arson or sabotage attacks on mobile phone masts. When failed or attempted attacks are added to the tally, that number increases to 74.
The figures from the mobile phone sector are mirrored by Openreach, which is responsible for maintaining much of the UK’s broadband infrastructure.
Openreach engineers have been exposed to a barrage of abuse. One person threatened to throw a brick at an Openreach engineer’s head, returning several minutes later shouting and wielding a bottle. In another incident, an engineer was told they would be in “fucking trouble” if it turned out they were installing 5G, with the abuser then punching their van door and walking off. Elsewhere, a woman shouted that 5G was “more dangerous than Covid-19,” called an Openreach engineer “fucking mental” and said she would get her brother and six friends over to “do him in.”
Dylan, an engineer working for Openreach in Leicester, who was verbally abused while driving his van, describes the incident as “quite intimidating.” In Dylan’s case, a man got out of his car while at a red light on a dual carriageway and started shouting abuse and banging on his van.
“He put his head against my window, he’s saying, ‘Don’t you ignore me, stop trying to cover up what you’re doing, 5G is killing us all, you’ve got no morals,’” Dylan says. “You’ve got someone right there and you’re on your own. You wonder if he’s going to smash the window, what’s he going to do if he does get in, is he going to attack me? I seized up and just waited for the light to go green.” While this was happening, another individual remained in the parked car and filmed everything. Dylan says the incident has left him shaken. “When I’m on my own I feel a bit cautious, a bit on edge. And I can’t fully focus on the task at hand because I’m always keeping an eye on what’s happening.”
In the last seven days alone, more than 54,000 posts referencing 5G and coronavirus have appeared on Facebook, generating over two million interactions. The most popular of these posts, featuring an image of Bill Gates with devil horns, has received more than 4,600 shares, comments and interactions. Two posts protesting the removal of David Icke’s Facebook page have together generated more than 7,000 shares, comments and other interactions.
The response from social networks has been spasmodic at best. While figures such as Icke have been banned, other Facebook groups with huge followings are still active.