Extinction Rebellion protester, 91, 'wanted to be arrested' because he 'trembles' for future generations

Tim Baker
PA

A 91-year-old Extinction Rebellion protester has told a court he got arrested on purpose because he "trembles" for future generations facing the climate crisis.

John Lynes walked in to Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Thursday with the help of a cane and said he “wanted to be arrested” during protests in Kent in September in order to make a point.

Explaining his reasons for protesting, Lynes said he has 31 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren who he worries about.

"I tremble for their future," he said. "I tremble for their future all the more because our generation and my generation especially, was responsible for creating the climate crisis."

Ursula Pethick, 83, left, John Alexander Lynes, 91, centre, and John Halladay, 61, leave Folkestone Magistrates Court in Kent, (PA)

The nonagenarian demonstrator was detained on September 21 during protests in Dover, Kent.

Protesters occupied one side of a dual carriageway near the Port of Dover amid a heavy police presence.

Those marching were told they could demonstrate in an area cordoned off for their use on the westbound A20, but risked arrest if they tried to block eastbound lanes used by lorries to access ferries.

Lynes, of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, is on trial for failing to comply with a condition on public assembly set by Kent Police - referring to a section 14 order.

He told the court on Thursday that he deliberately chose to disobey the police order to create greater awareness of climate change.

"I wanted to be arrested," he said. "People caused the climate crisis and people should be able to put an end to it as well.

"I didn't act irresponsibly or casually on this, I did it with a heavy heart."

Lynes said the protesters had made all efforts to let the police know of their intentions.

When asked by prosecutor Paul Edwards if it was necessary for them to leave the designated area, he said: "If we hadn't then nobody would have taken notice."

Lynes is on trial alongside Ursula Pethick, 83, of Robertsbridge, East Sussex and John Halladay, 61, who is charged as an organiser of a public assembly which failed to comply with a condition.

Halladay, of Canterbury, Kent, argues he was never described as an organiser of the event.

The trial of all three continues.

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