Terror Act used on climate activist

Terror legislation was used to stop a British climate change activist from travelling to Denmark, it has emerged.

Chris Kitchen, 31, said he was prevented from crossing the border on Tuesday at about 5pm when the coach he was travelling on stopped at the Folkestone terminal of the Channel Tunnel.

Mr Kitchen told the Guardian that police officers boarded the coach and, after checking all passengers' passports, took him and another climate activist to be interviewed under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a clause which enables border officials to stop and search individuals to determine if they are connected to terrorism.

He was asked what he intended to do in Copenhagen and also about his family, work and past political activity.

Mr Kitchen said he pointed out that anti-terrorist legislation did not apply to environmental activists but said the officer replied that terrorism "could mean a lot of things".

His coach had left by the time his 30-minute interview had finished and police paid for a ticket for him to return to London.

Mr Kitchen said he believed the officials knew his name and had planned to remove him before they boarded the coach as passports were not initially scanned.

"The use of anti-terrorist legislation like this is another example of political policing, of the government harassing and intimidating people practising their hard earned democratic rights," he told the Guardian.

"We are going to Copenhagen to take part in Climate Justice Action because we want to protest against false solutions like carbon trading and to build a global movement for effective, socially just solutions.

"People who are practising civil disobedience on climate change in the face of ineffectual government action are certainly not terrorists, and I am sure that their actions will be vindicated by history."

Mr Kitchen said he would make a second attempt last night to get to Denmark.

Once there, he plans to take part in discussions organised by a network of protest groups coming together under the banner Climate Justice Action in the run-up to the United Nations summit.

Friends of the Earth's head of climate Mike Childs said: "It's outrageous to stop someone from travelling to Copenhagen to protest on climate change.

"Climate change is a global crisis that will have catastrophic consequences unless world leaders take drastic action to tackle it, so it's not surprising people want their voices to be heard.

"The police should be supporting people's right to protest peacefully.

"One of the most effective ways to campaign is to unite as many voices as possible at the same time and this is exactly what Friends of the Earth will be doing in Copenhagen in the coming weeks."

A Home Office spokesman said: "There has been no change in policy.

"Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 enables an examining officer to stop, search and examine a person at a port or in a border area to determine whether they are someone who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

"The exercise of the powers by the police is an operational matter for each force."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence