An Extinction Rebellion protester has been hailed a “hero” after becoming the first from the organisation to be jailed for an “act of rebellion”.
Melanie Edwards, 48, glued herself to the witness stand as she stood trial in City of London Magistrates Court for a separate offence committed during the climate activism group’s April demonstrations.
The carer from South Wales appeared in court on Monday, charged with breaching Section 14 of the Public Order Act after supergluing herself to a large pink boat in Oxford Circus.
However, following cross-examination from the prosecution, Ms Edwards glued one hand to the witness stand and read out a hand-written letter explaining her actions.
In it she said: “Your honours, I would like you to know first and foremost that I respect the law, this court and you.
“We face extinction, not only as a society but indeed as a species, if we don’t act now and act decisively to address climate breakdown.
The letter read out by Ms Edwards in court
“I believe the courts and the police are failing in their duty of care to protect society and the very laws you say you are upholding.”
District Judge Briony Clarke reportedly prevented police officers from arresting the defendant for criminal damage, but later ruled she was in contempt of court.
Ms Edwards was handed a seven-day custodial sentence after she refused to give an “unconditional” apology for the stunt.
A spokesman from Extinction Rebellion hailed the “importance of sacrifice” and told talkRADIO that Ms Edwards was a “complete hero”.
He said the technique of being disruptive in court had been used by rebels before but Ms Edwards’ case was the first to result in contempt.
He added that there was a “high chance” that courtrooms will see more disruption in the future, after more than 1,800 people were arrested in the organisation’s most recent London rallies.
Ms Edwards was also made to pay £120 in costs for the Section 14 breach.
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