Climate protester arrested after ‘approaching Sir David Attenborough’ in seafood restaurant

Animal Rebellion group ecologist wanted to persuade broadcaster to speak out over biodiversity crisis

Jane Dalton
Monday 21 November 2022 15:24 GMT
Police drag out climate protester trying to talk to Sir David Attenborough

A climate change protester has been arrested after allegedly causing a disturbance as she went to hand a letter to Sir David Attenborough at a restaurant.

Dorset Police said Emma Smart was arrested after refusing to comply with officers who asked her to leave.

Animal Rebellion, the protest group Ms Smart was part of, said she approached Sir David’s table at a fish restaurant to give him the letter.

A video taken by the activist group shows Ms Smart saying, “David, David, please five minutes, David. I’m a scientist, I’m a biologist,” as officers drag her along the floor.

Ms Smart, 45, an ecologist from Weymouth, said she wanted a five-minute conversation with the much-loved broadcaster about the need to address climate change as he ate at Catch At The Old Fish Market in Weymouth.

Sir David had spent the day in the town and posed for photos with members of the public.

Ms Smart targeted his visit to the restaurant because of its expensive seafood menu, according to Animal Rebellion, which campaigns for a plant-based food system and mass rewilding.

She was charged with failing to comply with a Section 35 direction.

She said: “The Catch is a symbol of excess and inequality in today’s world, Weymouth has average wages among the lowest in the UK and is at huge risk of sea level rises.

“Yet this restaurant still continues business as usual among the worst cost-of-living crisis many will ever experience.

“We don’t need another documentary series showing us that we are losing some 150 species going extinct globally every single day. What we need is action.”

She added that Sir David was in a unique position to tell the truth about the biodiversity crisis.

Her letter read: “Dear David, I still want to meet you! I’m from Weymouth - my community will be devastated in the climate crisis.

“Today is the one-year anniversary that I went to prison for peacefully protesting government inaction.

“There are 35 ordinary people in prison right now for environmental protest.

“Please speak up for them. For all life on earth.

“I’m a scientist. A biologist. Please meet with me - just five min.”

Ms Smart, who went on hunger strike in jail in Surrey after being involved in an Insulate Britain climate protest, was charged with failing to comply with a dispersal order and is due to appear at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on 21 December.

The Marine Conservation Society says stocks in the English Channel of sea bass, which is on the menu at The Catch, are very low, according to Animal Rebellion.

The Independent has asked the BBC to comment on behalf of Sir David and asked the restaurant to comment.

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