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Jeremy Corbyn’s brother among arrests at anti-lockdown protests

Piers Corbyn claimed 5G technology and the coronavirus pandemic were linked.

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Police lead away Piers Corbyn (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Police lead away Piers Corbyn (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Police lead away Piers Corbyn (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was one of 19 protesters arrested during a protest against the coronavirus lockdown.

About 50 people defied social distancing to gather close together at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, west London, holding placards with slogans like “anti-vax deserves a voice” and “freedom over fear”.

Dozens of police officers, including some on horseback, patrolled the protest, issuing 10 on-the-spot fines and making 19 arrests.

Piers Corbyn was taken away after showing up with a megaphone and proclaiming 5G and the coronavirus pandemic were linked, calling it a “pack of lies to brainwash you and keep you in order”.

He also said “vaccination is not necessary” and that “5G towers will be installed everywhere”, adding: “5G enhances anyone who’s got illness from Covid, so they work together.”

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A protester in Hyde Park in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A protester in Hyde Park in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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A protester in Hyde Park in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

There is no evidence to link 5G and Covid-19 and scientists fear that a rise in measles among children can be attributed in part to unfounded fears about vaccines.

He was taken away after declining to leave when asked by a police officer and refusing to give his details when asked.

A flyer advertising the protest called for “no to mandatory vaccines, no to the new normal, and no to the unlawful lockdown”.

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A police officer looks on as protesters gather on Southampton Common (Ben Mitchell/PA)

A police officer looks on as protesters gather on Southampton Common (Ben Mitchell/PA)

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A police officer looks on as protesters gather on Southampton Common (Ben Mitchell/PA)

David Samson, 50, who said he works in finance, told the PA news agency he went because “I never thought I’d see in my generation the suppressing of civil rights” over a “fake virus”.

“This is nothing compared to what’s coming,” he said.

There was a large round of boos whenever protesters were arrested, and repeated shouts of “jail Bill Gates”.

Another demonstrator, 62-year-old Catharine Harvey, said she was defying the rules to highlight the “devastation this lockdown has caused”.

The shop owner said: “Developing countries will have no trade, no tourism. I have had to close my shop on Columbia Road flower market.

“The effects of the lockdown are far, far worse than the virus – mental health, domestic violence, shops are closed, theatres, cinemas, restaurants. It’s unnecessary.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “With the easing of restrictions we fully expected open spaces to be busy this weekend.

“It was disappointing that a relatively small group in Hyde Park came together to protest the regulations in clear breach of the guidance, putting themselves and others at risk of infection.

“Officers once again took a measured approach and tried to engage the group to disperse.

“They clearly had no intention of doing so, and so it did result in 19 people being arrested, and a further 10 being issued with a fixed-penalty notice.”

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

A separate protest in Southampton saw about a dozen protesters gather on Southampton Common, holding placards saying “Stop the Lies”, “Say no to tyranny” and “Fight 4 Freedom”.

One protester, Dee, who did not wish to give her surname, said her job in the hair and beauty industry had been hit by the crisis.

She told PA: “I am here because I am worried about civil liberties being taken away.

“Reading the coronavirus act that has gone through Parliament, it seems there are changes being made which infringe our freedom.

“And I am worried the media has run away with the Covid-19 thing and blown it all out of proportion.”

In Belfast, police monitored a crowd of about 20 people who had gathered in Ormeau Park to denounce the lockdown measures.

Officers warned participants to socially distance and they complied. The gathering broke up without incident after an hour.

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