Extinction Rebellion Banned From Protesting In London As Police Clear Trafalgar Square Camp

Climate activists have accused authorities of breaking the law by refusing their right to peaceful protest.

Police have ordered climate change protesters to stop their action in London immediately or face arrest, in an effort to put an end to more than a week’s disruption in the capital.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists were dramatically cleared from Trafalgar Square on Monday night, which has served as the main site for the group’s action in the capital over the last week.

More than 1,400 people have been arrested during eight days’ XR action, with the threat that anyone defying police orders will also be detained.

<strong>Police work to remove Extinction Rebellion protesters in Trafalgar Square, central London last night.</strong>
Police work to remove Extinction Rebellion protesters in Trafalgar Square, central London last night.
PA Wire/PA Images

In a statement on Twitter, the London branch of XR wrote: “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.”

Scotland Yard said activists were told to cease their protests by 9pm on Monday or face arrest.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “These conditions have been imposed due to the continued breaches of the section 14 condition previously implemented, and ongoing serious disruption to the community.

“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 remove an Extinction Rebellion protester from Trafalgar Square in central London.
Police remove an Extinction Rebellion protester from Trafalgar Square in central London.
PA Wire/PA Images

“Today, protesters targeted areas in the City of London, causing further disruption to people and businesses in London’s financial district. Police made more than 90 arrests.

“Since the beginning of this operation officers have been working hard to keep London moving. There have been more than 1,400 arrests, and a number of people have been charged.

“The policing operation continues, and we will continue to take action against anyone engaged in unlawful protests at locations targeted by Extinction Rebellion.”

Four people in a so-called peace tent, who had locked themselves together, were cut out of their locks with machinery.

<strong>Police remove an Extinction Rebellion structure from Trafalgar Square, central London. </strong>
Police remove an Extinction Rebellion structure from Trafalgar Square, central London.
David Mirzoeff - PA Images via Getty Images

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

Speaking to the PA Media, she said: “Everyone on the site, despite being the only area of London that was free of the Section 14, was told at about 8.30pm that they had to leave by 9pm or they would be arrested. I just feel like that’s very short notice.

“I feel possibly that they’ve been approached by people we’ve upset today, maybe the finance sector or the banking sector.

“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.”

Patrick Thelwell, 20, who has been arrested four times, and convicted once with Extinction Rebellion, said the police were getting “desperate”.

“They’re running out of police cells and resources to keep our message oppressed,” he told PA.

“We’re not here against the police, they’re just doing their job, they’re being really helpful… making sure people’s stuff doesn’t get lost.”

Police said they imposed the condition to clear Trafalgar Square under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986.

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