Twenty protest organisers face £10,000 fines following Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in central London

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  • September 5, 2020
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Twenty protest organisers are facing possible fines of £10,000 following Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in central London, police said.

Climate change protesters have reignited their efforts to highlight the dangers of climate change this month after they were largely placed on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Metropolitan Police imposed conditions on where demonstrations could take place, while protesters were also warned they risked a large fine if they failed to comply with coronavirus rules banning gatherings of more than 30 people.

Scotland Yard said 20 people have been reported for holding regulation-breaching gatherings representing a range of different causes.

The reports relate to a number of protests held in the capital, including “Resist the Government”, “Move One Million”, “The Ivory Coast Protest”, “Citizens’ Assembly Extinction Rebellion” and “The Lightship Greta” procession.

One report also relates to a demonstration which took place in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, August 30, police said.

The organisers could face a fine of £10,000 each.

Extinction Rebellion: London demonstrations

Commander Kyle Gordon, Gold Commander for the weekend’s policing operation, said: “Over the past week, the Met has managed various protests across central London which have caused serious disruption to local communities.

“Throughout this period we have become increasingly concerned the organisers of these events have not always taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus, thereby posing a risk, not only to those involved, but the wider public and communities of London.

“We remain in the middle of a pandemic and we all need to play our part in keeping each other and our communities safe.

“The Met’s approach to policing the coronavirus legislation has always been in line with the national policing approach, which is to engage, explain, encourage and only as a last resort enforce.”

He said officers officers have been out “proactively speaking to those organising events and demonstrations or taking part in them”.

“They have been continuing to emphasise the public health risk and the regulations, and making it clear that the responsibility to ensure they are not committing an offence under the regulations rests with them,” he said.

Protesters stage a demonstration outside Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)

“Today as a result of events on the ground a number of individuals have been reported for consideration of a Fixed Penalty Notice for £10,000.

“I would urge anyone considering gathering in groups of more than 30 to consider the risk to themselves and others.

“I would appeal to anyone planning on organising a gathering to consider your responsibilities under the regulations, and to do all you can to help keep our communities safe.”

It comes after protests blocking deliveries of some of the UK’s major newspapers were condemned as “completely unacceptable” by Boris Johnson.

Some newsagents’ shelves were left empty on Saturday morning after protesters targeted Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool overnight.

The protests are planned to last 10 days (PA)

More than 100 protesters used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads, with protests lasting until 11am.

Police said some 72 people had been arrested by Saturday morning.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.

“It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.”

There was a large police presence in central London on Saturday afternoon as XR staged other events.

Protesters were removed from Trafalgar Square on Saturday (Getty Images)

Officers were seen carrying and leading away protesters from a peaceful “Citizens Assemble!” gathering in Trafalgar Square who refused to move on after sitting on the ground and listening to speeches.

A five-a-side football match was staged underneath Nelson’s Column to highlight criticism of Barclays.

Protesters claimed the bank, a partner and former title sponsor of the Premier League, is the “largest funder of fossil fuels in Europe”.

Meanwhile, XR said a 20ft model boat named after teenage activist Greta Thunberg was being dismantled and taken away by police in Kennington, south London.

The Lightship Greta, featuring the words “Sound the alarm – Climate Emergency”, had been marched on foot from Brighton.

Police said officers made 33 arrests on Saturday, bringing the total number of arrests in the last week to more than 600.