About 150 people packed into a London school for a wedding this week in defiance of a strict national lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new reports.
Officers broke up the gathering at the Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School, an Orthodox Jewish school in the Stamford Hill neighborhood, around 9:15 p.m. local time Thursday, the BBC reported.
London Metropolitan Police initially reported about 400 people were in attendance, but later revised that count to around 150, according to the report.
The organizers face a fine of 10,000 British pounds — around $13,700, the outlet reported.
Five attendees were fined 200 pounds — around $274.
“This was a completely unacceptable breach of the law,” Met Police Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett said in a statement obtained by the BBC. “People across the country are making sacrifices by canceling or postponing weddings and other celebrations, and there is no excuse for this type of behavior.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson supports the police for “taking action against people who flagrantly and selfishly ignore the rules,” his official spokesman told the BBC.
“Large gatherings such as that pose a health risk, not just to those who attend but those who they live with or others who they may come into contact with,” he said.
A spokesman for the school told Metro UK that the hall was leased to an “external organization” and the school itself “had no knowledge” that the wedding was taking place. The agreement with the organization has since been terminated, according to the report.
“We are absolutely horrified about last night’s event and condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” the statement said.
The incident comes several months after the school’s principal, Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, died of COVID-19 in April, according to the report.
Pinter was a leading Jewish figure in London and the first rabbi in England to serve as a town council member, according to Chabad Lubavitch UK.