Climate activists in London shift site but keep up protests
LONDON (AP) — Climate protesters in London plan to keep up their campaign despite being ousted by a police order from their Trafalgar Square encampment.
The Metropolitan Police had said Extinction Rebellion protesters and their tents must leave the square by Monday evening. The force said it was a “proportionate and reasonable” move to end a major disruption.
More than 1,400 people have been arrested since the group began blocking roads, bridges and airports in London a week ago to demand faster action on climate change. Most have been released without being charged.
Extinction Rebellion said Tuesday it had “let the Trafalgar Square site go,” but “the international rebellion continues.”
The police action was condemned by activists including Green Party legislator Caroline Lucas, who called it a “huge over-reach of police power” that violated the right to peaceful protest.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the ban became necessary because protesters had repeatedly violated commitments to limit the demonstration to the Trafalgar Square neighborhood in central London.
“This was an operational policing decision to help us get London moving again,” he said. “After nine days of disruption we felt it is entirely proportionate and reasonable to impose this condition because of the cumulative impact of these protests.”
He said police will take “robust action” against anyone participating in unlawful protests.
On Tuesday, a member of the group climbed atop an entrance to the Department for Transport to protest the downing of trees for a high-speed rail project. London police say some arrests were made at the government agency, but didn’t immediately provide further details.