08:16 GMT18 September 2020
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    Piers Corbyn, a famous COVID-19 dissident, brought together thousands of people in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday to demonstrate against the government’s coronavirus measures and reject mass vaccinations. According to newly-introduced rules, organisers of gatherings of more than 30 people in the UK are subject to hefty fines.

    The brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is among the first in the UK to be fine for leading a mass rally in the coronavirus era.

    Piers Corbyn, 73, tweeted on Sunday that he had received a fine of £10,000 ($13,000) “as organiser” and been held in detention for 10 hours.

    London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that a 73-year-old man was arrested in Trafalgar Square on Saturday on suspicion of breaking the new lockdown-related regulations and was handed a £10,000 fine.

    Corbyn, a meteorologist and anti-lockdown firebrand, staged a rally at the square, which saw more than 10,000 people protest against coronavirus restrictions and mass vaccinations. He was arrested and led away by a large group of police officers wearing surgical masks.

    “After the rally had finished, I was saying goodbye to people,” he told The Guardian. “I was just looking around thinking I had better go now, and then they [the police] just grabbed me from behind.”

    “I was not expecting it at all. They frogmarched me – they didn’t handcuff me – and told me they were arresting me for contravening the coronavirus regulations for organising a gathering of more than 30 people.”

    Corbyn now plans to challenge his fixed penalty notice in court. He has previously been charged with two counts of breaching coronavirus regulations after he attended two protests against 5G technology and the lockdown in Hyde Park in May. He will go on trial on 23 October.

    The Health Protection Regulations 2020, introduced on 28 August ahead of the bank holiday weekend, allow authorities to slap people who organise illegal gatherings of more than 30 people with fines of up to £10,000. At least ten other people were fined this week for allegedly organising such gatherings.

    Police in South Wales on Sunday closed down a rural rave, which had been going on for more than 12 hours and attracted around 3,000 people from across the UK.

    Elsewhere, Norfolk police said on Sunday they made “a number of arrests” and seized sound equipment after shutting down an all-night unlicensed music event in Thetford Forest, which had 500 people in attendance.

    And West Yorkshire Police reported that eight people were given penalties following several parties on Saturday evening and in the early hours of Sunday.

    Tags:
    coronavirus, COVID-19, Trafalgar Square, lockdown, Jeremy Corbyn, London
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