Green Party MEP arrested at climate protest was 'defending rights'

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Green Party MEP has declared a police ban Extinction Rebellion protests to be “totally disproportionate”. 

Ellie Chowns, who was arrested during a protest in Trafalgar Square on Monday night said she was defending the right to peaceful protest.

Section 14 of the Public Order Act required protesters to cease action in London by 9pm yesterday or face arrest. Speaking to talkRADIO's Matthew Wright, Ms Chowns said the protest was peaceful.

“I was arrested literally for standing in Trafalgar Square, which is a public place,” she said.

“I was standing there asking the police for justification for their decision to ban all peaceful public assembly in that location and everywhere else in London and they didn’t have a justification, they didn’t have an answer, it seems totally disproportionate.”

WATCH: Ellie Chowns MEP in Trafalgar Square before her arrest.

However, police said the order was imposed to “get London moving again”.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “After nine days of disruption we felt it is entirely proportionate and reasonable to impose this condition because of the cumulative impact of these protests.”

He added: “This does not mean people are banned from protesting in London.

“If Extinction Rebellion, or any other group, comes to us with a proposal for lawful protests then of course we will discuss that with them.”

More than 1,400 people have been arrested since the protests began on October 7 and caused major disruption to London roads.

It is part of a global movement demanding governments and industries to take immediate action against the “climate crisis”.

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