(CD) — London police on Saturday raided a building Extinction Rebellion activists were using to store supplies ahead of a climate demonstration planned for Monday, a preemptive action environmentalists condemned as an unlawful crackdown on a peaceful protesters.
The Guardian reported that “10 people—seven women and three men—had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance.”
Video of the raid, which shows police using a battering ram to break into a south London building, quickly went viral Saturday as activists and British lawmakers expressed alarm at the aggressive tactic.
“This is not what democracy looks like,” tweeted Extinction Rebellion London.
Labour MP Clive Lewis called the police raid “plain wrong.”
— Damien Gayle (@damiengayle) October 5, 2019
“No petroleum company warehouse has ever had a battering ram used on it by the police,” said one Twitter user.
Richard Ecclestone, a former police officer who joined Extinction Rebellion, said in a statement that “these tactics are very questionable and are arguably infringing on our rights to peaceful protest, and indeed our efforts to preserve people’s right to life that is currently being jeopardized by the government failing to act on the climate and ecological emergency that they know exists.”
In a press release Saturday, Extinction Rebellion said the police “used evidence-gathering laws to seize bins, food, and disabled toilets.”
According to Extinction Rebellion London, authorities also seized disability ramps and other items aimed at making protests sites “accessible and safe for all.”
Seized alongside the pernicious pink pillows were disability ramps, sanitation facilities, bins – everything to make our sites accessible and safe for all
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🕊️ (@XRebellionUK) October 5, 2019
“If this equipment continues to be held, such action may well be seen as a violation of both the police’s duty of care, and of the public right to protest—especially for our more vulnerable members,” Extinction Rebellion said. “We’re taking legal advice to consider our next steps.”
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