It is in the interests of both the police and Extinction Rebellion to compromise

Editorial: While we hope the police interpret the rules about protest in a liberal and balanced way, we argue that it is in the interest of the cause XR espouses that protesters avoid confrontation

Saturday 21 August 2021 21:30
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<p>Extinction Rebellion protesters in 2019 </p>

Extinction Rebellion protesters in 2019

Extinction Rebellion (XR), the environmental protest group, has played a clever game ahead of its “Impossible Rebellion” planned to begin on Monday, by warning Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, against unlawful arrests.

As we report today, the group has reminded the commissioner of a Supreme Court ruling in June, which acquitted protesters who had blockaded an arms fair four years ago. XR has demanded that the Met clarify its policy of “pre-emptive arrests”, and that it guarantee that the policing of the new protest will take into account the Supreme Court’s requirement that the police must not “disproportionately interfere with a citizen’s rights of expression and assembly”.

As a result of that ruling, hundreds of XR protesters have had their convictions quashed, and it makes sense to invite the Met to think carefully before making mass arrests next time.

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