Extinction Rebellion: Met Police officer on 'serious disruption'
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Nearly 2,000 officers have been involved in policing Extinction Rebellion protests each day in London, a police chief has said. Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations Matt Twist has described it has been “hard work” for the police force. Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters occupied parts of two famous bridges in central London in the second week of the group’s demonstrations across the capital.
Speaking to LBC, Mr Twitst said: “It’s been hard work. Every day we’ve had over 2,000, or around 2,000 officers, deployed directly to manage some of the protests that we’ve seen.
“We know Extinction Rebellion have the right to protest and they have the right to assemble, but these are qualified rights, and our view is, at times, over this past period, they’ve overstepped that line and broken the law and taken very deliberate steps to cause very serious disruption to the people, businesses and communities of London.
“It’s at that point that we’re stepping in and making arrests.”
He added: ” I’ve seen the footage, I’ve seen what officers have done, and over a number of days we’ve seen Extinction Rebellion try and cause serious disruption, either by putting up a large bamboo structure outside the Science Museum on the A4 or by stopping a bus and trying to lock onto it.
“From what I’ve seen the officers were trying to prevent further people locking onto that device.”
Mr Twist noted that: “But the quick actions of the officers getting onto it stopped many more hours of disruption because, sadly, one person locked onto a structure, using very complex techniques, can take a while to remove.
“The figures we’re talking about here: in the last 10 days we’ve removed 81 people who have been glued onto something, we’ve removed 52 who have been locked onto something and 31 of those are at height, which makes it all the more complex and difficult.”
Over the 10 days, 480 arrests were made.
Extinction Rebellion: Police stop attempt to block road
The group is demanding the Government stops investment in fossil fuels.
As part of the protests, activists have blocked a road in central London with a large pink table containing built-in lock-ons, spray painted the floor outside the HM Revenue & Customs headquarters and daubed the famous Guildhall in the City of London in red paint.
Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, dyed the Buckingham Palace fountains red in protest at animal hunting.
On Monday, activists were seen lying on the ground near Tower Bridge, while others wore aprons emblazoned with Tell The Truth and with teapots with Deniabilitea written on them.
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Protesters were seen to be removed by officers prior to the blocking of the bridge.
The Metropolitan Police said demonstrators had used “complex” lock-ons “to frustrate our removal efforts”, and specialist removal teams were drafted in.
The force said on Twitter: “We see many comments and questions asking why this work can’t be quicker and use more direct tactics.
“While we understand the public’s frustration, we must consider the safety of everyone involved – including our officers.
“This work is painstaking but we work as quick as we can.”
Extinction Rebellion is due to continue its action for a second week.
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