Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has been arrested in connection with leaflets circulated in London that compared the UK vaccine rollout to Auschwitz.
The 73-year-old, a climate change sceptic who has been a regular presence at anti-lockdown protests during the COVID pandemic, was arrested on Wednesday in Southwark, central London, on suspicion of malicious communications and public nuisance.
The Metropolitan police said that another man, aged 37, was arrested in Bow, east London, on suspicion of a public order offence. Both have been bailed to return on a date in early March.
The leaflets in question contained material that compared the coronavirus vaccination programme with the Holocaust.
Pictures of the leaflets published by the Jewish Times show the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where more than 1 million people were killed by the Nazis, with the inscription “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work sets you free) replaced with the words “vaccines are safe path to freedom", a reference to a headline in the Evening Standard newspaper from last November.
Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, was among those who reported the leaflets to the police.
“No one isolating, shielding or staying safe at home should be exposed to this disgusting material,” he wrote on Twitter.
At a march in London last October, Piers Corbyn led thousands of protesters across central London, telling a crowd in Leicester Square that “Bill Gates wants vaccinations to control you and to control women’s fertility to reduce world population.” There’s no evidence that COVID vaccines reduce fertility, or that Bill Gates has plans to control the world’s population.
Speaking after his arrest to the Jewish Chronicle, Piers Corbyn denied accusations of anti-Semitism, saying he was “married for 22 years to a Jewess”.
“I’ve worked with Jewish leading world scientists over the last 30 years," he said. "I've also employed Jewish people in my business Weather Action, one of whom was a superb worker."