Met police plan to impose restrictions for global climate protest

Matthew Taylor
Photograph: Peter Summers/Getty Images

The police are planning to impose restrictions on the global climate strike in London on Friday, warning that anyone who does not comply risks arrest.

The event in London is part of what is expected to be the biggest mobilisation around the climate crisis the world has seen, with millions taking to the streets in demonstrations and strikes in cities on every continent.

The conditions outlined under a so-called section 14 restrict the demonstration in London to an area around Westminster and Millbank and say the action must finish by 3.30pm.

A succession of youth climate strikes on Fridays this year has drawn hundreds of thousands of young people to the streets to demand action over the unfolding ecological crisis.

But the Met claimed the “cumulative impact of these protests had been very significant” adding it had evidence that this Friday’s protest “may result in serious disruption to communities in London”.

Met commander Dave Musker said: “We respect the right to protest. However, what we will not tolerate are protesters committing criminal offences and disproportionately stopping people going about their lawful business in London.”

He added: “Anyone who knowingly fails to comply with these conditions or incites others to fail to comply will be committing an offence and will be liable to arrest. I will not allow the actions of a few to seriously hinder the day-to-day activities of the vast majority of Londoners, or visitors.”

Amnesty International UK called the police restrictions “heavy-handed”.

“People have the right to protest in sight and sound of their target audience, and we would hope the police bear that in mind when dealing with assemblies in other parts of London such as in the vicinity of town halls,” said Tim Gee, campaign manager.

“Tomorrow is expected to be the largest ever day of action on climate change, as young people and adults take to the streets together to demand action on tackling the climate crisis and the human rights violations caused by it. It is vital that their voices are heard and not silenced.”