Londoners to face ‘significant disruption’ as Met warns of weeks-long Extinction Rebellion protests

The Metropolitan Police has warned Londoners that the capital could be facing major disruptions, courtesy of Extinction Rebellion protests.

The climate change protest group is expected to embark on a fortnight-long protest crusade, targeting the City from August 23 – September 3.

Protests will kick off in Trafalgar Square tomorrow (August 23) at 10am, without thousands of demonstrators expected to join.

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Speaking to i, Extinction Rebellion’s spokesperson Zoë Blackler said: “Climate change is happening and it’s happening now.

“In June the IPCC issued a Code Red warning for humanity.

The protests are expected to pan out over weeks

“The last few months have seen record-breaking weather extremes across the globe, including the heat dome in North America, raging wildfires in Southern Europe, and devastating flooding not just in Germany but also here in London.”

She added: “After Covid, we now know that a rapid, emergency response is possible and that the British people will get behind whatever is necessary to protect their families and their livelihoods.

“We know too that people are feeling increasingly alarmed about the breakdown of our climate and what it means for us all.”

But Matt Twist, The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner slammed the protests, dismissing them as troublesome and disruptive.

He 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.

“There have been three previous extended periods of demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion in London. People going about their normal business saw bus routes being diverted or cancelled, significant roads closures, tubes and DLR routes being disrupted by spontaneous demonstrations, and the abstraction of hundreds, if not thousands of officers from their normal duties”.

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

Extinction Rebellion’s plan

Calling their two-week demonstration the ‘Impossible Rebellion’, the group aims to take on to the streets of London to “make the politically impossible inevitable.”

They’ve dubbed the protest the “impossible rebellion”, as they want to “make the politically impossible inevitable.”

Extinction Rebellion will convene on Monday August 23 at Trafalgar Square, in London at 10am.

The Met’s plan

Police claim they will liaise with the protest’s organisers to minimise disruption to the capital.

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Dep Asst Comm Twist noted that an operation of this magnitude could affect their ability to keep the rest of us safe and that every police officer “committed to a large demonstration is a police officer abstracted away from their local borough and community.”

He 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”.

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