LONDON: The elder brother of former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is among the first set of people to be fined 10,000 pounds (USD 13,325) under new powers of the British police to curb large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Piers Corbyn confirmed on social media that he had been arrested and fined for his part in an anti-lockdown 'Unite for Freedom' protest at Trafalgar Square here on Saturday.
The 73-year-old vocal critic of the coronavirus lockdown measures said on Twitter that he had been handed the fixed penalty fine as an "organiser".
"One arrest was made at Trafalgar Square at 15:25 hours, a 73-year-old man on suspicion of breaking the new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No2) (England) Regulations 2020," Scotland Yard said in reference to the arrest.
"A fixed penalty notice would be issued for 10,000 pounds for the offence of holding a gathering of more than 30 people in an outdoor public place contrary to regulations," the Metropolitan Police said.
In a tweet, Piers Corbyn declared the rally an "epic success" and claimed that around 35,000 filled Trafalgar Square to "Stop the New Normal" after large crowds of protesters, some of whom displayed anti-mask and anti-vaccination placards, were seen in Trafalgar Square through Saturday afternoon.
Under the new rules announced earlier and which came into force from Friday, organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people can now be fined up to 10,000 pounds and people taking part in illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gatherings of 30 people or more now face a 100 pounds fine.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel had issued a statement on social media to remind the British public of the new rules last week.
"The police will be working hard to keep us all safe over the Bank Holiday weekend. Rightly many of us will be out enjoying ourselves, but we must remember that coronavirus remains a threat.
"From tomorrow (Friday), those organising illegal raves and parties could face a 10,000 pounds fine," she said.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police were seen handing out letters explaining the recently introduced legislation to demonstrators in London.
"We are actively out on the ground, speaking with people taking part continuing to emphasis the public health risk and the regulations, and that it is incumbent on them to fulfill the requirements under the new legislation to check the position and ensure that they are not committing an offence by being involved in a large gathering or they may be subject to a large fine," said Commander Bas Javid, the Met Police spokesperson for what is a long "August Bank Holiday Weekend" to mark the end of summer in England.
"Our policing response to each event may differ according to our operational decision making, based on information given to us subject to the new legislation," he said.
There have been widespread crackdowns on similar large gatherings, including parties and raves around the country.
Eight people were fined 10,000 pounds in Yorkshire after officers broke up several parties in Headingley and Burley over the weekend.
One unlicensed music event in south Wales attracted more than 3,000 people.
"This type of illegal gathering is totally unacceptable and we are aware of the concerns it is causing for the local community," said Chief Superintendent Simon Belcher, of South Wales Police.
"I would like to again remind people of their obligations under the current coronavirus legislation and the overarching goal for everyone to take personal responsibility," he said.
Some police forces deployed drone units, dogs, police helicopters and specially trained public order officers to tackle the problem of large gatherings as part of country-wide efforts to control the spread of the deadly virus.