'Extinction Rebellion' decries city crackdown on London protests

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Climate change activists gather in London's Trafalgar Square on Sunday. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE
Climate change activists gather in London's Trafalgar Square on Sunday. Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Environmental activists in London vowed Tuesday to defy a ban on recurring "Extinction Rebellion" climate change demonstrations, after hundreds of police officers raided their camp.

The movement to draw attention to climate change began in London months ago, and has since grown in scale and spread to other nations. Renewed protests earlier this month led to city leaders imposing a ban on events related to the Extinction Rebellion.


More than 1,400 activists have been arrested in the last two weeks, and police said violators of the ban will be arrested. Officers made dozens of arrests in Trafalgar Square Monday.

"Police are clearing peaceful protest in Trafalgar," the movement tweeted in response. "They are back-tracking on promises made.

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"This is an emergency, and and outrage. The police must respect the law. This is a democracy."

The Extinction Rebellion later said it would "let the Trafalgar Square go," but pledged the rebellion would continue.

London Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said authorities have made progress managing the activists, who he said caused "disruption to people and businesses in London's financial district."

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Green Party lawmaker Ellie Chowns was among those arrested in Trafalgar Square.


"We were given notice just a short time ago that this square is no longer allowable for peaceful democratic protest," she said. "The rules have changed. No longer is any space in London allowable for peaceful protest.

"There is no justification for this curtailment of the democratic right to protest for the future of our children."

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Activist Ronan McNern said group protests have been peaceful.

"The climate and ecological crisis is here and it cannot be addressed by tougher policing," he said.

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