This week, I joined Extinction Rebellion and other concerned parties, including Caroline Lucas of the Green Party and George Monbiot of the Guardian, in taking the Metropolitan Police to court over their action against Extinction Rebellion last month as part of the ‘Autumn Uprising’. The Metropolitan Police issued a section 14 order, stating that XR “must now cease their protests within London”.
We believed that this was unjust, and yesterday, the High Court also deemed it unlawful, as it went beyond the powers granted to police by the Public Order Act 1986. I believe that this judgement is a vindication of Extinction Rebellion’s determination to peacefully protest.
Peaceful protest is an essential guarantor of a free and democratic society, and XR are sounding the alarm about the climate and ecological emergency. Rather than trying to block our ears by shutting down their protests, we should be reacting to the danger they’re alerting us to. Averting that danger requires urgent and radical change, not the criminalisation of peaceful protest.
It is right that the attempt by the police to quash our democratic right to dissent has been overturned. Now we must turn back to fighting the climate crisis with everything we have.