Extinction Rebellion Scotland statement in response to city-wide ‘ban’ on XR protests in London

Financial District action which XR Scotland took part in yesterday

XR Scotland are dismayed that the Metropolitan Police implemented a city-wide ban on peaceful protest by Extinction Rebellionin London last night. Scotland Yard warned XR activists that they faced arrest and prosecution unless they halted the peaceful climate change action by 9pm on Monday, in a change of police tactic that followed demonstrations targeting the capital’s financial district. 

This is a clear over-step of police power, with laws being misused to curtail peaceful protest. In the UK our right to peaceful protest is enshrined in Article 11 of the Human Rights Act and we are deeply disturbed by this infringement on that right. This has serious implications not only for environmental activists today, but for anyone engaging in peaceful protest against the UK government in the future. 

Responses from XR activists on the street have reflected these concerns;

Jo Venebles, 35, a gardener and XR activist commented:  “The rewriting of the rules just shows their desperation in trying to quash our right to demonstrate peacefully. We will adapt and continue to reiterate our message and exercise our freedom of speech. It’s very disappointing.” 

Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home sSecretary, said the order was “wrong and completely contrary to Britain’s long-held traditions of policing by consent, freedom of speech, and the right to protest”.

Shadow Crime and Policing minister Louise Haigh spoke out against the ban, calling it “a grotesque overreaction and extremely worrying attack on basic civil liberties”.

Amnesty International have stated that this blanket ban is unlawful.

Such infringement on basic civil rights, particularly in this time of political upheaval, should not be taken lightly. XR Scotland activists pledged to continue to take action in the capital, alongside people from across the country to demand urgent action in the face of the climate and ecological crisis. 

About Extinction Rebellion Scotland

Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.

Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24 November 2018, are as follows:

  1. That the Scottish government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
  2. That the Scottish government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the well-being of all.
  3. The creation of a Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.

Read more about Extinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth