Piers Corbyn detained as 14 arrested in chaotic Bristol anti-lockdown protests

Piers Corbyn is detained by a police officer in Bristol during Saturday’s rally (Image: Lee Thomas)

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Piers Corbyn was detained by police as anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in Bristol.

Police said 14 people were arrested during the 'freedom rally' today, where demonstrators in the crowd of around 400 scuffled with officers as tensions boiled over.

Jeremy Corbyn's conspiracy theorist brother was spoken to by police at the Stand Up Bristol demonstration in the city today, Bristol Live reports.

Footage shows Piers Corbyn being detained by police with officers forming a wall around him as marchers shout and shove.

Avon and Somerset Police declined to comment on the identity of those arrested.

Anti-lockdown marchers are detained by police in central Bristol
(Image: Tom Wren / SWNS)

The force said in a statement that a number of people were identified throughout the day as leading the protest, and were subsequently arrested.

Others were arrested on suspicion of breaches of coronavirus regulations, and one man was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer.

The statement said police understood the right to freedom to protest, but that the gathering was in breach of coronavirus regulations and posed a health risk.

"And so unlike previous protests which have taken place during the pandemic, we couldn't legally or morally facilitate today's event," Chief Inspector Mark Runacres said.

He added that police had warned organisers to cancel the rally ahead of the event.

Piers Corbyn, 73, has been a familiar face at anti-lockdown demonstrations in recent weeks.

He was also seen at recent protests around The Strand and Trafalgar Square in London.

He could be seen in footage addressing the crowd today in one clip, and being detained by police in another.

During today's protests, people marched with placards demanding 'freedom,' branding the lockdown 'fear'-mongering, and invoking George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen-Eighty Four.

Protesters hold placards invoking George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four
(Image: Getty Images)

Avon and Somerset Police wrote on Twitter earlier: "Fourteen arrests have so far been made during today's demonstration.

"We recognise the right to freedom of expression but protests aren't currently allowed. Covid-19 is deadly and the restrictions are in place to prevent its spread.

"We continue to urge people to go home."

Conspiracy theory group Stand Up Bristol – which has 2,800 Facebook members – had made plans to stage the protest at College Green, despite warnings they will face fines for breaking coronavirus laws.

Supporters gathered from midday on College Green before marching through the city, ignoring pleas from police to cancel.

The rally marched through central Bristol
(Image: Getty Images)

Tattooist Aron Walton – who refused to close his parlour during the second lockdown and was yesterday issued with a fine by the local council, is due to speak at the gathering.

One speaker at the rally reportedly told the crowd this afternoon: "We are going to have Christmas on our terms."

Footage and pictures of the crowds show most were not wearing face masks, and were flouting social distancing advice.

Protesters bear signs demanding 'freedom' at the anti-lockdown rally
(Image: Getty Images)

Meeting people outside of your household in groups of more than two people is currently banned under England's second national lockdown.

Anyone caught participating in a gathering of more than 30 people can be fined £200 for their first breach.

Avon and Somerset Police has asserted its officers will "not stand by" this Saturday.

CI Runacres stressed the health risks, saying he was "disappointed" the protest was still set to go ahead.

A man is detained by police and marched from the rally
(Image: Getty Images)

Today's event comes as Bristol City Council issued a stark warning the city is now at a "very critical point" as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

More than 2,000 coronavirus infections were recorded in the city in the seven days up to November 8.

Bristol as a whole has a case rate per 100,000 of 471 – the highest in the south of England and higher than Manchester and Liverpool, which both went into Tier 3 lockdowns before the new national lockdown was introduced.