Extinction Rebellion win High Court challenge against police | Climate News


Extinction Rebellion have won a High Court challenge against a police ban on protests throughout London.

Scores of climate protesters were arrested for defying the ban, which was imposed by the Metropolitan Police last month.

The environmental pressure group held 10 days of protests in October, which shut down key areas of Central London, including Westminster, The City and London City Airport.

The Metropolitan Police used section 14 of the Public Order Act to try and prevent demonstrations involving more than two people.

Extinction Rebellion’s lawyers argued that the police’s actions were beyond the powers of the act, which the Metropolitan Police said were used to tackle disruption caused by the protests.

Announcing the judgement, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Chamberlain said that London’s police force did not have the power to put a ban in place, because the act used does not cover “separate assemblies”.

Lord Justice Dingemans said: “Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if coordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of… the act.

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“The XR Autumn Uprising intended to be held from October 14 to 19 was not therefore a public assembly … therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under… the act.”

The judges did note however, that there are powers within the Public Order Act that could be used to legally “control future protests which are deliberately designed to ‘take police resources to breaking point'” – which is one of the stated aims of Extinction Rebellion.

Speaking outside the High Court, a spokesman for Extinction Rebellion said the group was “delighted” at the result.

The Metropolitan Police said that 1,832 people were arrested during the October protests, with more than 150 being charged with offences.

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