Hundreds of people staged a protest outside a hospital caring for terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans, after judges set a date for his life support to be withdrawn.
Police were called after crowds gathered outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where the 23-month-old is being treated.
His parents who want to discharge the toddler and continue treatment elsewhere, said they had been prevented from from doing so by hospital staff.
Earlier this week a High Court judge expressed sympathy for Tom and Kate Evans over their son’s condition, but endorsed an end-of-life care plan drawn up by specialists.
Alfie, born in May 2016, is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors have not definitively diagnosed.
His parents, both in their 20s and from Liverpool, have lost legal fights over the toddler’s treatment in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, and European Court of Human Rights.
In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled doctors could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents, following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.
During a follow-up hearing in London, he described what had happened to Alfie has “profoundly unfair” but set a date and time for his life support to be stopped.
A video posted to Facebook on Thursday showed an emotional Mr Evans by his son’s hospital bed, holding a letter which he says states he has the right to leave with his child.
He said police and hospital staff were stopping him from taking away his son.
“I have documentation that says I have the right to take my son out of the hospital, I have the right to take my son out of this hospital,” he said in the clip, while holding a leaded headed “Christian Legal Centre”.
Mr Evans claimed the documentation allowed him to leave legally and that he has removed the duty of care and given it to their air ambulance company.
“Alder Hey phoned the police to murder my son,” he added. “Alder Hey have phoned the police to stop me from taking my son out of the hospital. This is my son. Look at my healthy, healthy young boy who is undiagnosed, who is certainly not dying.”
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During the two-and-a-half minute clip he also encouraged people to come to the hospital to stand outside and “tell them to release our son” in a “quiet protest”.
He added: “They have phoned the police over a child… Look how innocent the boy is, look at him, he lies there eagerly waiting for his trip home. How can this come to this?”
In other clips posted on social media, hundreds of people were seen gathered outside the hospital, holding banners reading “Alfie’s army” and chanting “let him go”.
Reports on Twitter suggested up to 1,000 people were at the demonstration, which lasted for more than four hours and ended with Mr Evans leading crowds on a march away from the hospital.
Dozens of police officers could be seen in videos posted online, which also showed buses turning back as protesters sat in the road.
Merseyside Police confirmed officers had attended the scene and appealed to protesters to be respectful.
Taking to Twitter, he force said: “We can confirm that officers are at Alder Hey to monitor a peaceful protest tonight, Thursday 12 April.
“Please note that access to the hospital is currently being disrupted and protesters are asked to be respectful of other patients and visitors trying to access the location.”
The Independent has approached Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for a comment but none had arrived at the time of publication.