Extinction Rebellion: Police ban London protests

Police remove an Extinction Rebellion protester from Trafalgar Square in central London Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Police remove an Extinction Rebellion protester from Trafalgar Square in central London

Police have been clearing Extinction Rebellion activists from Trafalgar Square after issuing a London-wide ban on the group’s climate change protests.

In a statement issued on Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police said demonstrators protesting in the capital after 21:00 GMT could be arrested.

On Twitter, the group’s London branch called the move “an outrage”.

The protests, which began last Monday and were due to last two weeks, have resulted in more than 1,400 arrests.

A number of demonstrations have been staged across the capital by the group, which is calling on the government to do more to tackle climate change.

In the latest move, on Monday, hundreds of protesters targeted the City of London, blocking the crossroads outside the Bank of England.

The Met said there had been 1,445 arrests by 14:00 on Monday, with 76 people charged with offences including criminal damage and obstruction of a highway.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the ban had been imposed due to breaches of the Public Order Act and “ongoing serious disruption to the community.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Protesters gather their belongings as police work to remove the last of the Extinction Rebellion demonstration

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Media captionTrying to balance the right to protest with preventing obstruction

Previously, protesters had been warned by police to protest only in Trafalgar Square or risk arrest.

However, on Monday evening police began removing protesters from the site.

In a statement on Twitter, Extinction Rebellion London accused police of “back-tracking on promises made” and that MEPs had told them the clearing of Trafalgar Square could be “in contravention of UK law”.

Four people who had locked themselves together inside a so-called peace tent were cut out of their locks with machinery by police.

Pam Williams, 71, glued herself to the spot where her tent stood as police arrived to take it.

She said protesters in Trafalgar Square were only given 30 minutes’ notice before the 21:00 deadline.

‘I’ve glued myself to the ground’

“I feel possibly that they’ve been approached by people we’ve upset today, maybe the finance sector or the banking sector,” she said.

“I’m refusing to leave and I’ve glued myself to the ground.

“My husband has taken away the tent, the police haven’t got it. I shall stay here until I’m arrested.”

Referencing the City of London demonstration, Mr Taylor said protesters had caused “further disruption to people and businesses” with police making more than 90 arrests.

He said officers had “been working hard to keep London moving” during the protests and that they had begun “getting things back to normal”.

He added: “The policing operation continues, and we will continue to take action against anyone engaged in unlawful protests at locations targeted by Extinction Rebellion.”

Last week, the Home Office confirmed to BBC News that it was reviewing police powers around protests in response to recent demonstrations.

It follows a letter from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick after August’s protests, which resulted in more than 1,100 arrests.



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