Corbyn's brother among 23 charged with offences at London protests during lockdown

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  • June 20, 2020
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Jeremy Corbyn’s brother is among more than 20 people so far charged with committing criminal offences at protests during the coronavirus pandemic.

Piers Corbyn, 73, has been charged with breaking the Health Protection Regulations — which enforce the UK’s lockdown — at two protests by conspiracy theorists.

The Metropolitan Police said he was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court next month.

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It came as fresh Black Lives Matter protests were due to take place across the UK this weekend, with police expecting huge crowds in London.

Ministers and police have urged people not to join large demonstrations during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with lockdown restrictions banning gatherings of more than six people.

The Metropolitan Police have arrested almost 230 protesters and released 35 images of people wanted over violent clashes since the death of George Floyd.

Commander Alex Murray said more than 100 officers have been assaulted since the end of May.

“I really hope we’re not going to see what we saw last weekend or the weekend before,” he added.

“We don’t have any information there’s anyone from the right-wing attending but we have got information that large crowds of people will be attending.”

Black Lives Matter demonstrations and counter-protests started late last month, after a series of smaller anti-lockdown rallies.

Mr Corbyn has been charged with breaking the Health Protection Regulations at two anti-lockdown protests on 30 May and 16 May.

leftCreated with Sketch.
rightCreated with Sketch.

At the most recent rally, the astrophysicist-turned conspiracy theorist had joined a small protest by a group that claims coronavirus is a “false flag operation” to control the population.

On the day, he tweeted that people have “nothing to fear from ending the lockdown”, about 5G and vaccinations, and a conspiracy theory about Dominic Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle.

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The protest was two weeks after Mr Corbyn was arrested at the largest anti-lockdown protest so far seen in Britain.

He spoke at a rally in Hyde Park on 16 May, which was one of dozens of “mass gatherings” organised across the UK.

He used a megaphone to tell the crowd that the pandemic was a “pack of lies to brainwash you and keep you in order”, shouting: “Vaccination is not necessary”.

Like many of the protesters, Mr Corbyn claimed coronavirus was linked to 5G technology, adding: “5G enhances anyone who’s got illness from Covid, so they work together.”

The baseless conspiracy theory has caused a wave of vandalism against 5G masts and attacks on engineers.

The Health Protection Regulations made leaving home without “reasonable excuse” or gathering in a group of more than two people illegal at the time.

The former Labour leader’s brother is among 23 people who have so far been prosecuted in relation to demonstrations since the start of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

The majority of charges so far stem from the 16 June anti-lockdown protest, where police officers repeatedly told attendees that the gathering was a violation of coronavirus laws and urged them to go home.

Police officers apprehend Piers Corbyn, Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, during a demonstration against the coronavirus lockdown in Hyde Park on 16 May (Getty)

A total of 13 people, including Mr Corbyn, have been charged with breaking the Health Protection Regulations at the demonstration.

They include Jeff Wyatt, a former Ukip election candidate who was previously the deputy leader of the far-right For Britain movement.

The 56-year-old, of Beachampton, near Milton Keynes, is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 10 July.

Phillip Hartley, a 37-year-old from Doncaster, who handed out stickers reading: “F*** corona”, is accused of the same offence.

Also charged over the 16 May protest are Fiona Hine, 35, of Wandsworth, Jackub Andrzej, 27, of Ealing, Dimitri Pensin, 34, of Pinner, Azelia Aqui, 29, of no fixed address, Donnalee Andrews, 55, of Northampton, Aleksandrs Rimicans, 27, of Islington, Alexander Heaton, 37 of Tower Hamlets, Jaime Stewart, 44, of Wood Green, Princess Rose Morgan, 56, of, Lambeth and Ian Jackson, 66, of Wandsworth.

Brendon Cummins, 18, was charged with assaulting an emergency service worker at a separate protest on 1 June and is due in court on 30 June.

Two men were charged following demonstrations in London on 6 June, which saw major Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Christopher Scott, 28, of Southwark, was charged with two counts of assaulting an emergency service worker.

Orson Shandilya, 23, of Harlesden, was charged with causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress and possession of a class A drug and will appear in court next month.

Seven charges relate to protests on 13 June, when football hooligans and right-wing groups flooded into Westminster to “defend” statues and clashed with police.

They include Andrew Banks, 28, who was jailed last week for outraging public decency by urinating next to the memorial to PC Keith Palmer, who was killed in the Westminster terror attack.

Daniel Allen, a 35-year-old from Sunderland, is awaiting sentence for violent disorder and assaulting an emergency worker after attacking a police officer from behind and kicking them to the ground.

Liam Hanley, 29, of Walsall was charged with possession of a Class A drug and will appear in court next month.

Matthew Cardwell, 31, of Barking, was charged with criminal damage and is also due in court in July.

South African backpacker James Miekle, 38, admitted assaulting an emergency service worker by running at a line of police officers at a nearby anti-racism demonstration. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Hasan Khan, 21, of Hertfordshire, was charged with possession of a Class B drug and will appear in court next month.

Ferirai Mzila, 24, was charged with assaulting an emergency service worker.