‘Extinction Rebellion: Police ban London protests’ – BBC News
‘Extinction Rebellion: Police order activists to move or face arrest’ – BBC News
‘Why policing Extinction Rebellion protests is ‘extremely complex” – BBC News
‘Cressida Dick: Extinction Rebellion protests are drawing police away from battling violent crime’ – Evening Standard
The Metropolitan Polices’ attention has been drawn away from ‘priorities that matter to you most’ according to the Evening Standard. This is due to the rising protests held by the ‘nonviolent global environmental movement’ known as the Extinction Rebellion.
The group was established in the U.K in May 2018. By November 2018 five bridges across the River Thames in London were blockaded. According to their website rebellion.earth their demands include:
- For the government to tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency,
- For the government to act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025,
- For the government to create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice
Since their uprising, the group have:
- Occupied the road in front of Houses of Parliament,
- Glued themselves to the gates of Downing Street,
- Closed all access to Trafalger Square,
- Sprayed the Treasury in Westminster with fake blood,
- Undressed and glued themselves to the glass in the House of Commons viewing gallery
- And most recently, “Extinction Rebellion protesters dragged from Tube train’ according to the BBC News
The commissioner of the Metropolitan police has said her force is being “stretched” by the continued protests. Sky News reported that the end of a week of demonstrations “has seen more than 1,100 arrests”. The police forces’ attention has been directed at the group and drawn away from other important matters. Rather than investigating crimes such as the rising rate of stabbings in London, they have been called to deal with events such as, “Extinction Rebellion protester climbs on plane at London City Airport.” – Sky News
Journalism.london wanted to find out the impact this particular event at the airport had on members of the public. So we asked a student who studies at the University directly opposite London City Airport: What effect did this particular event have on your day to day university life?
“Well as a student I’m around people who are passionate about what they’re working towards. So I can only respect that those who were protesting had a cause they viewed as relevant. With that being said, the protesting did have somewhat of a negative impact on my university routine. We had police guarding the premises along with curfew timings preventing us from moving about freely.”
– Fatimah Baker, Civil engineering student at University of East London.
The Rebellion group seem to have good intentions and an even better outcome however, according to this students response, their tactics do not appear commendable.
The rise in knife crime in the U.K has become one of the nations biggest concerns. Members of the public expressed that more attention should be paid to the heinous crime in comparison to the protests.
“I think people getting stabbed is more important because peoples lives are at risk. And lives are not at risk in the Extinction Rebellion, they may be arrested but not killed.”
“I think that the main authority of the police at the moment should be the crime that’s going around in London. I think that’s a huge public safety issue.”
“The police have wasted so much time on Extinction Rebellion.”
– London South Bank University students 2019
The extinction rebellions movement seems to be causing more harm than good, irrespective of their intentions. The ‘peaceful’ protestors according to members of the public are causing more disruption than peace. Perhaps they need to reassess their tactics in attempting to achieve their goal.
Sources: BBC News / The Evening Standard / Sky News / rebellion.earth