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Extinction Rebellion launching legal action against police over London protest ban

Activists continued protests in the capital in defiance of the police order today.

Image: David Mirzoeff/PA

Updated Oct 15th 2019, 10:35 PM

EXTINCTION REBELLION ACTIVISTS are launching legal action against the police over a London-wide ban on their protests.

The move comes amid growing criticism of the ban, made under public order legislation already used to restrict the action to Trafalgar Square.

Activists continued protests in the capital in defiance of the police order, targeting the Department for Transport and locking themselves to a caravan on Millbank, prompting more arrests.

Human rights lawyer Tobias Garnett, working for Extinction Rebellion, said the group would be filing a High Court claim challenging the ban on the grounds it is “disproportionate and unlawful”.

The group was planning to file a claim this afternoon, and was seeking an expedited hearing.

Garnett said the police order limiting protests “risks criminalising anyone who wants to protest in any way about the climate and ecological emergency that we face”.

Under the current order, any assembly – classed as a gathering of two or more people – linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’ in London is unlawful.

Lawyers have questioned the legality of ban, aimed at halting further protests after more than a week of disruption by the environmental activists in London, while a number of politicians expressed outrage over the move.

Police moved in to clear Trafalgar Square yesterday evening, telling protesters to leave the site by 9pm or risk arrest.

Extinction Rebellion activists defied the order and this morning, the group’s co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, was arrested after action to target the Department for Transport in Westminster over HS2 and airport expansion.

Police also dealt with a road block near Baker Street and told a number of protesters camped in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to move on or risk arrest.

Protesters locked themselves to a caravan parked by Millbank tower in central London, with police spending more than two hours trying to free them using electric saws.

The protest outside the MI5 headquarters aimed to highlight the issue of food security.

By this afternoon, police said 1,489 people had been arrested in connection with the “Autumn Uprising”.

And 92 people had been charged for offences including failing to comply with a condition imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, criminal damage, and obstruction of a highway.

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