First Extinction Rebellion protesters appear in court

Extinction Rebellion protesters at Oxford Circus Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protesters blocked some of the busiest roads in central London in April – including Oxford Circus

Almost 30 climate change protesters have appeared in court charged with a public order offence, after April’s Extinction Rebellion action in London.

The activists, ranging in age from 20 to 76 years old, are accused of failing to comply with an order to stick to an allocated area near Marble Arch.

There were eight guilty pleas – resulting in conditional discharges – and 21 not guilty pleas.

More than 1,000 people were arrested over the course of April’s protests.

Demonstrators brought parts of central London to a standstill, causing roadblocks on Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, while others glued themselves to trains and buildings.

The group’s tactics included asking volunteers to deliberately get arrested to cause maximum disruption.

In May, the Metropolitan Police said they would push for all the 1,151 people arrested – which included Olympic gold medal-winning canoeist Etienne Stott – to face charges.

So far 232 files of evidence have been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, with 180 people charged, one cautioned for outraging public decency and 32 released with no further action.

Hundreds of others remain under consideration for charges.

Friday’s hearings took place in two court rooms simultaneously at City of London Magistrates’ Court.

A number of trials were scheduled for September and October.

Two court rooms are being set aside for a day each week at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for 19 weeks to deal with the protesters.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Extinction Rebellion activists gathered outside the court ahead of the hearings

The youngest defendant, Peter Tyler, 20, of Muasdale, in Argyll and Bute, pleaded guilty to a public order offence relating to Waterloo Bridge on 17 April.

The oldest defendant – Caroline Hunt, 76, from Bristol – admitted an offence relating to Waterloo Bridge on 21 April.

Simon Kitt 25, of Newton Abbot pleaded guilty to the same offence relating to Waterloo Bridge on 21 April.

Speaking after his hearing, he referred to the activists who gathered outside the court, saying: “It’s beautiful to see everyone here showing such support for the cause.”



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