Several Rugby Extinction Rebellion activists arrested in London after gluing or locking themselves to structures

Several Rugby Extinction Rebellion protesters have been arrested as they take part in the national protest in London, a spokesperson for the group told the Advertiser.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 6:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 7:32 pm
Photo submitted by Rugby Extinction Rebellion.

Rugby's branch of Extinction Rebellion has maintained a constance presence at the London protest since it began on October 7.

Richard Brook, spokesperson for Rugby's group, told the Advertiser: "Rugby Extinction Rebellion are intensely proud of our rebels in London, taking an active part in Extinction Rebellion's International Rebellion calling for government action on climate change.

"The group have had arrests, some as an intentional form of protest with rebels locking themselves or gluing themselves to structures, and others due to the robust response of the Metropolitan Police.

"The protesters were based initially in St James Park, close to Downing Street – so may be the basis of the Prime Minister's verdict of “uncooperative crusties" – before the police clamped down on camping in that area, ahead of the Queen's speech.

"The group were then allowed by Lambeth Council to decamp to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

"This camp has also since been shut down by the police."

Mr Brook said the group has a system whereby not all activists are designated as 'arrestable'.

Those who are designated as 'not arrestable' instead distributing leaflets or helping those who are camping to move their possessions as the police have directed.

Mr Brook said activists not travelling to London have been supporting those who are with: "Encouraging messages while away, friendly faces to greet returning rebels and getting vital information to friends on the streets have all played a huge part in the longevity of the protests."

The situation for protesters has become more difficult since the police began removing protesters from the city on the night of Monday, October 14 after using Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 to order activists across the city to cease their action or face arrest.

Rugby's branch said they welcome the news that Extinction Rebellion lawyers began challenging this order on Wednesday, October 16.

Adding that the right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of this country's democracy.

Mr Brook said: “I’ve been brought up, like most people, to fear arrest. I've never considered putting myself in a situation where it might happen before.

"The climate emergency is so desperate, that it flips that on it’s head. Within my daughter’s lifetime evidence-led, scientific research suggests this planet will be suffering ecological and societal breakdown.

"We’re living through the Earth’s sixth major extinction event, and human life is already being lost in the global south.

"We have to act now. I'm so grateful to the rebels who are arrestable, and while arrest for me would be a disaster, risking arrest by standing in solidarity with those people is now the only sensible option.”