Today 11 October 2019, the climate crisis charity Plan B, has written to the Metropolitan Police Service citing numerous instances of human rights violations in the policing of Extinction Rebellion protests.
The complaint follows a recent UN report, which warned that the climate crisis is the “greatest ever threat to human rights” referring both to the direct impacts of the crisis and attacks on activists who are challenging vested economic interests by demanding action on the crisis.
The allegations include the following:
- Armed police, carrying rifles, stopping members of Extinction Rebellion and ordering them to put their hands in the air
- Breaking the finger of a peaceful protestor
- A plain clothes police officer attempting to incite violence in the crowd
- Arbitrary and aggressive use of stop and search powers
- Treading on protestors and dragging protestors
- Forcefully removing tents without checking whether children or others were inside
- Seizing portaloos, nappies, food, cooking equipment and disability ramps under the pretext that such items were needed in “evidence”
- Cyber attacks on social media assets
- Failing to investigate evidence in favour of the protestors
- Ignoring CPS guidance on policing peaceful protest.
Tim Crosland, Director of the Charity, explains:
“People taking active steps to protect our common future on this planet are facing police oppression all over the world. The moderate way in which Extinction Rebellion protests were policed in April was an exception to the rule.
Since April the vested interests have been organising. The supposedly independent “think-tank” Policy Exchange published a report, widely quoted in the media, calling for the police to take a tougher line. It subsequently emerged that Policy Exchange is funded by “Big Energy” but nevertheless, the police have acted on the report’s recommendations.
The climate crisis is the greatest threat there is to humanity. Government inaction means people are scared for their lives. As the Government’s own former Chief Scientist, Sir David King, has recently said, they are scared with good reason.
As a former Deputy Director of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, I know from experience that there are many dedicated people working in law enforcement, who take seriously their responsibility to the public. It is sad to see these public servants now being instrumentalised to persecute those they are there to protect.
Extinction Rebellion activists are being treated as criminals. Their “crime”, let’s remember, is to demand the action required (according to science) to prevent the ultimate humanitarian catastrophe.”
The full letter can be seen below: