Extinction Rebellion activists defy police order to end protests across London

Extinction Rebellion protest action is continuing in London despite police ordering activists to end their gatherings across the capital or risk arrest.

On Tuesday morning, the group’s co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, was filmed climbing the entrance to the Department for Transport in Westminster.

Extinction Rebellion said other protesters had glued themselves to the building.

It said activists were calling on the Government to explain its plan to meet a net-zero emissions target within the carbon budget of the UK.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Police remove an Extinction Rebellion structure from Trafalgar Square (David Mirzoeff/PA)

The protesters’ latest actions came after the Metropolitan Police imposed conditions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, requiring any protest assembly in the capital to cease by 9pm on Monday.

The force said this was to “prevent serious disruption to the life of the community”.

On Monday evening, activists were cleared from Trafalgar Square, where many had lawfully congregated for the past week.

In response to the police action, an Extinction Rebellion (XR) statement said its “rebels” would take “a moment to pause and remember why we are here”.

It added: “Extinction Rebellion will let the Trafalgar Square site go tonight.

“The International Rebellion continues.”

On Twitter, XR’s London branch labelled the clearing of protesters from the square as “an outrage”.

It also tweeted: “Today, an unprecedented, political, decision has been taken to shut down peaceful protest calling out the government for inaction in the face of crisis.”

As of 5pm on Monday, police said there had been 1,445 arrests in connection with the eight days of XR protests in London.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Police remove an Extinction Rebellion protester from Trafalgar Square, central London (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said conditions were being imposed on protesters due to “continued breaches” of previous police orders and “ongoing serious disruption to the community”.

He added: “We have made significant progress in managing Extinction Rebellion’s activity at sites across central London over this past week.

“Officers have begun the process of clearing Trafalgar Square and getting things back to normal.”

Police are clearing peaceful protest in Trafalgar & Vauxhall. They are back-tracking on promises made &, 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#ExtinctionRebellionpic.twitter.com/vJf7cTLJ78

— Extinction Rebellion London (@XRLondon) October 14, 2019

Mr Taylor said officers had made more than 90 arrests on Monday as protesters targeted the City of London, the capital’s financial district.

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.”

On Monday night in Trafalgar Square, four people in a so-called peace tent, who had locked themselves together, were cut out of their locks with machinery.

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

Extinction Rebellion protests
Trafalgar Square in central London after police removed the remaining Extinction Rebellion protesters (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency, 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.”

Ellie Chowns, a Green Party MEP, said she was arrested after “standing in solidarity” with protesters in Trafalgar Square.

At 11.30pm, only around 50 protesters remained in Trafalgar Square and the majority of the activists’ infrastructure had been removed.

Activists had previously said they planned to launch “XR Grandparents”, an initiative focused on older generations, on Tuesday afternoon.

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