Large crowds gathered around bars and restaurants in Soho last night after the 10 p.m. closing time, as officers were forced to break down groups not following social distancing guidelines.
Among the rule breakers was Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who urged people to join him in ‘making music, drinking and dancing’ in the central London hotspot .
The activist posted on Twitter and said, “Ignore the government’s crazy diktats on levels, curfews and circuit breakers! “#DrinkAgainstTheCurfew Join us tonight in Soho from 9:15 pm for music, drink and dance.”
And on Saturday Mr Corbyn also led a group of ‘anti-lock-down’ protesters around central London, with some members seen holding signs saying ‘no Gestapo police’ and ‘Covid-19 equals control”.
The capital moved into a Level 2 lockdown at midnight Friday, which means people from different households can no longer meet inside.
New Scotland Yard said officers were dispatched to Soho on Friday evening, one of the busiest areas in the capital, to “reassure the public and ensure compliance with Covid regulations”.
One person was arrested for intoxication and disorderly conduct and another was ordered to disperse and was asked to leave the area.
Officers said the crowd of late-night drinkers was separated shortly before 10:30 p.m.
In another incident, officers were dispatched to disperse a ‘block party’ shortly before midnight in Camden, north London, where around 30 people were seen playing music in the streets, dancing and breaking the rules. social distancing.
New regulations prohibiting households from mingling indoors could be devastating for more than 5,000 pubs and around 8,500 restaurants in Level 2 regions, including the capital.
Businesses in Level 2 zones have expressed fears of running out of business but not being eligible for government support available for premises ordered to be closed.
A Met Police spokesperson said, “The Met will continue to use the ‘4 E’ approach of engagement, explaining the regulations, encouraging people to follow them and only enforce them as a last resort. This will involve working alongside local authorities in London to ensure compliance with regulations relating to licensed premises.