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Extinction Rebellion: More than 1,000 people should be prosecuted, say police chiefs | UK News



More than 1,100 people arrested over the Extinction Rebellion protests that brought parts of central London to a standstill should be prosecuted, police chiefs have said.

So far around 70 activists have been charged for their part in the demonstrations which took place over 10 days in April.

The Metropolitan Police deployed 10,000 officers to deal with the protests at a cost of £7.5m.

Climate change activists on Waterloo Bridge in London last month
Extinction Rebellion climate change activists camped on Waterloo Bridge, causing major traffic problems

The force wants all 1,130 people arrested to face prosecution, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said.

“We have charged over 70. All the others are currently under investigation and we have got a dedicated unit of around 30 officers who are investigating those offences.”

“It is our anticipation that we are putting all of those to the CPS for decisions,” he added.

The group’s tactics included asking volunteers to deliberately get arrested to cause maximum disruption at roadblocks on Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, while others glued themselves to trains and buildings.

Police estimate that 570 people have been arrested since Friday
Police arrested more than 1,100 people

Mr Taylor said the officers on the team have been taken from across the force.

“That’s a really significant resource put in place for a period of six to nine months just investigating that one protest,” he said.

He called for laws governing protests to be reviewed and tougher penalties considered for those who broke the law during demonstrations.

Mr Taylor’s comments came as thousands of schoolchildren marched in the UK and across the world to demand action on climate change.

Climate protests, such as this one in Parliament Square, were held across the world on Friday
Climate protests, such as this one in Parliament Square, were held across the world on Friday

Further major demonstrations are likely to coincide with US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK n June while the ongoing Brexit debate is likely to further stretch police resources.

“I’m not saying going to jail, but we would like to see consequences for any activity at these events that is unlawful,” Mr Taylor said.

“Protest is not illegal. There is nothing unlawful about protest. The activity of some individuals at a protest can be unlawful.

“What we are saying is at the moment there doesn’t seem to be much of a criminal deterrent for doing that and therefore, it doesn’t legitimise it but it does make it easy for that unlawful activity to take place.”

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