Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers has been arrested for allegedly calling for the offices of pro-lockdown MPs to be burnt down during a protest against vaccination mandates in Westminster.
Corbyn was arrested in Southwark, London on Sunday at 1.45am local time, according to The Guardian, which cited Metropolitan police sources. Police had previously mentioned they were investigating a video in which the anti-lockdown protest leader appeared to be advocating arson.
London declares ‘major incident’ over Omicron
The brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn can be seen on the video, shot at Saturday’s protest outside Downing Street, calling on supporters to “hammer to death those scum who have decided to go ahead with introducing new fascism.” Informing his audience that there are websites with lists of MPs who fit that description, he recommended their constituents “go to their offices and — well, I would recommend burning them down, but I can’t say that on air.”
Audience members laugh in response, suggesting the remark was not made in seriousness, but Corbyn appears to realize he’s gone too far, repeating, “I hope we’re not on air.”
Corbyn also calls for anti-mandate protesters to “get a bit more physical,” urging demonstrators to “take down these lying vaccinators and we’ve got to take down these lying MPs.” Protesters, he said, should “support and welcome” those who have rebelled against PM Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 control measures in either party. Legislation to introduce vaccination certificates passed on Tuesday despite 99 Conservative MPs breaking with the party line to vote against it.
The protest attracted thousands of demonstrators who subsequently marched through the capital. Doctors have characterized the Omicron variant as comparatively mild, but that has not prevented governments from undergoing the now-routine process of locking down, renewing calls for vaccination and/or boosters, denouncing the unvaccinated, and unleashing the police on protesters.
Home Secretary Priti Patel demanded the police to investigate the “sickening” video, urging them to “take the strongest possible action” against Corbyn. The 74-year-old was arrested on “suspicion of encouragement to commit arson.” A fixture at anti-lockdown protests since London began implementing Covid-19 restrictions, Corbyn has been arrested several times for breaching government pandemic orders.