Extinction Rebellion protester, 80, pleads not guilty to public order offence
An 80-year-old Extinction Rebellion protester has pleaded not guilty to committing a public order offence during the environmental campaign group’s demonstrations in London, a court has heard.
John Scott, from Blackawton, Devon, is accused of ignoring a police order to leave Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protests in central London on April 15.
He appeared at City of London Magistrates’ Court on Friday with about 60 others accused of breaking the law during Extinction Rebellion’s protests in London, during which more than 1,000 people were arrested.
Before entering court Scott, who used to work in the merchant navy, posed for photographs outside with one of the youngest Extinction Rebellion protesters appearing in a hearing that day.
Those in court included Kevin Pressland, 58, from Barnet in north London, who was also charged with a public order offence in the April protests.
He told the court that he had not taken part in the protests “for the fun of it”, before being conditionally discharged and fined £105.
He added: “The values of society must change, otherwise we are all going down a path of substantial biodiversity loss and social unrest.”
District Judge Nicholas Rimmer said that the court recognised the “real issues” and “scientific evidence” underpinning his decision to demonstrate.
While Extinction Rebellion protesters were inside for their hearings, other activists from the organisation staged a demonstration outside.
Dozens of people armed with drums, banners and whistles blocked a crossroads near the court and the Bank of England, bringing traffic to a halt.
Buses and cars were unable to pass the blockade, which featured a banner reading: “We’ve got real convictions: act on climate change now!”
Andrew Rawstron, Extinction Rebellion arrestee welfare co-ordinator, said the point of the demonstration was to show “solidarity” with those appearing in court.
He added: “We had 60 people here today and we wanted to support them.”
Scott will go on trial at the City of London Magistrates’ Court on December 18.