Extinction Rebellion and its supporters have criticised police after it was included on a list of extremist organisations in an official report.
The Guardian reported on Friday that documents seen by the publication revealed the climate change activist group had been listed alongside Neo-Nazi groups such as National Action and Islamic extremists in a guide drawn up by Counter Terror Police South East (CTPSE).
It is understood that the version of the document was issued in November, but has since been recalled and the group is not classed by police as extremist.
Members of the movement have since branded the label a “terrorism slur” and a “deliberate attempt to silence” them.
In the hours after the story broke, a number of prominent supporters, politicians, and commentators voiced their anger online, with British writer and campaigner George Monbiot writing: “It’s official: those of us who care about the living planet and the future of humanity are extremists, and should be reported to Prevent.”
A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion also asked “how dare they?” and said: “Children up and down the country are desperately fighting for a future.
“Teachers, grandparents, nurses have been trying their best with loving nonviolence to get politicians and big business to do something about the dire state of our planet.
“And this is how the establishment responds.”
Extinction Rebellion has held climate change protests across the globe, and its actions in the UK have included closing Westminster Bridge and parking a pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus for several days.
DCS Kath Barned, the head of CTPSE, said: “I would like to make it quite clear that we do not classify Extinction Rebellion as an extremist organisation.
“The inclusion of Extinction Rebellion in this document was an error of judgment and we will now be reviewing all of the contents as a result.”
The 12-page “safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism” document, issued to teachers and police officers, among others, says the group is a threat due to its “anti-establishment philosophy”.
It also warns that expressions of support could include “people speaking in strong or emotive terms about environmental issues like climate change, ecology, fracking, airport expansion or pollution”.
One former chief superintendent called the listing “astonishing”.
Rob Cooper said: “If they wish to add anyone to their list of extremist groups, perhaps they should consider fossil fuel lobby groups.
“They seem to be very effective at indoctrinating politicians around the globe and enabling oil, gas and coal companies to receive massive subsidies whilst the planet burns.”