Major police response planned for Extinction Rebellion protests in London

·2-min read
Extinction Rebellion activists participate in a protest in London in September 2020 (REUTERS)
Extinction Rebellion activists participate in a protest in London in September 2020 (REUTERS)

The Met Police say they will have to draw upon resources from across its entire force if planned Extinction Rebellion protests go ahead in London across the next fortnight.

Protesters are expected to cause “significant disruption” to the capital as they pick up their placards and their megaphones once again in protests planned from August 22 to September 5.

The environmental campaign group has indicated it will focus on the City of London during the demonstrations.

Scotland Yard and City of London Police set out a plan on Friday ahead of the potential chaos.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: “It is clear to us, from reading and listening to their public announcements that Extinction Rebellion’s intention is to once again cause significant disruption to London and to London’s communities through acts of civil disobedience.”

Extinction Rebellion has held three previous long-lasting protests which saw bus routes being diverted or cancelled, significant road closures, tubes and DLR routes being disrupted and the removal of potentially thousands of officers from their normal duties, according to Scotland Yard.

“Undoubtedly, an operation on this scale will impact our policing in communities across London,” DAC Twist said.

“Each painstaking hour spent dealing with a protester who has committed criminal damage, glued or locked onto a road or business, is time spent away from the people of London, in the parts of London who need us most, dealing with knife crime, domestic abuse, violence.

“I want our police officers to be serving Londoners, fighting crime as well as bearing down on our number one priority, violence. It is frustrating that activity by Extinction Rebellion will hinder those efforts.”

Officers hope to minimise any disruption to London by engaging with Extinction Rebellion organisers throughout the two week protest.

Other specialist policing teams will also be on standby, who can respond and manage protesters in a safe manner who have built or locked themselves to complicated structures.

DAC Twist added: “Like everyone else, Extinction Rebellion have the right to assemble and the right to protest,” DAC Twist said.

“However these rights are qualified and are to be balanced against the rights of others. They do not have the right to cause serious disruption to London’s communities and prevent them going about their lawful business.”

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