The Metropolitan Police have issued a statement banning all Extinction Rebellion protests in London, under the Public Order Act.
Becca Bashford, News Editor.
The Metropolitan Police have issued a statement ordering all Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London areas to end.
At around 9pm on Monday evening, police began surrounding the Trafalgar Square area – the designated protest space – to remove protestors from the area. Some protesters had glued themselves to the floor and refused to move.
In a statement, The Metropolitan police said:
“Any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’…must now cease their protest(s) within London (Metropolitan Police Service, and City of London areas) by 2100hrs [on Monday] 14th October 2019.”
Green Party MEP for the West Midlands Ellie Chowns was one of those arrested at Trafalgar Square – a video posted on twitter has circulated of the MEP being put in handcuffs. Later, she tweeted:
“Last night I was arrested in Trafalgar Square while defending the right to peaceful public protest. That right is central to a functioning democracy. Yesterday, public protest was banned throughout our capital city. This is a completely unjustified and disproportionate measure.”
The Green Party issued a statement, saying: “The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental pillar of liberal democracy […], it is disturbing that the Metropolitan Police should impose a Section 14 across the whole of London, this is a disproportionate response to peaceful protest and to responsible expressions of democracy at this critical time for the planet.”
Early yesterday morning, Gail Bradbrook, one of XR’s founding members, defied the ban and led a protest at the Department for Transport in London. She stood atop the entrance of the building before she was arrested, speaking about the detrimental effects of the expansion of airports and roads – particularly HS2.
In clear defiance of the ban, Extinction Rebellion have continued their protests in London today. They also announced in a statement that they have delivered a ‘Letter before Action’ to the Met Police, threatening legal proceeds against the unfair use of Section 14.
A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion said:
‘Police are clearing peaceful protest in Trafalgar and Vauxhall. They are back-tracking on promises made and, MEPs say, in contravention of UK law, in the national square. This is an emergency, and an outrage. The police must respect the law. This is a democracy.’
The XR protests, which began last week, have already seen over 1,400 arrests. Police have said they will be arresting any protesters who continue to take part in the London demonstrations under the Section 14 Public Order Act, due to “ongoing serious disruption to the community”.
Extinction Rebellion have three demands:
- For the UK government to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency
- For it to adopt a target of zero carbon by 2025
- For the government to set up a citizens’ assembly to decide future policy on the environment.
This story is developing. Stay tuned for updates.