Diane Abbott has described the Metropolitan Police ban on all Extinction Rebellion protests in London as “wrong”, amid concerns that the right to protest is being undermined.
Responding to the ban on XR activity across the whole of the capital, the Shadow Home Secretary said: “The Labour Party unequivocally supports the right to protest.
“The Extinction Rebellion protests have been largely peaceful and brought vital attention to the climate emergency – the most important issue facing the world.
“Any criminal acts should of course be handled by police, but an outright ban is wrong and completely contrary to Britain’s long-held traditions of policing by consent, freedom of speech, and the right to protest.”
Clive Lewis MP, who recently wrote a comment piece for LabourList about the need for Extinction Rebellion and the pro-Remain movement to work together, also voiced opposition to the ban.
The opposition frontbencher tweeted: “The action by police overnight is a huge overreach of statutory power – we must protect our right to protest with everything we have. Huge solidarity with the rebels for life”.
As of Tuesday morning at 8.45, there had been 1,457 arrests made in connection with Extinction Rebellion activity in London.
On Monday evening, the Met Police issued the statement: “Any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’… must now cease their protest(s) within London (Metropolitan Police Service, and City of London areas) by 21:00hrs [on Monday] 14th October 2019.”
Extinction Rebellion responded, saying: “The climate and ecological emergency isn’t going away and we remain resolute in facing it. We urge the government and the authorities to join us in doing the same. We cannot do it alone. This is bigger than all of us.”
The activist group added: “Extinction Rebellion will let the Trafalgar Square site go tonight. The International Rebellion continues.” Protests are being held at the Department of Transport building this morning.