Socialist Worker

Cops clamp down on climate activists ahead of International Rebellion

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2675

Police during the raid in South London

Police during the raid in South London (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A brutal show of force from the Metropolitan police on Saturday saw cops swoop in on one of Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) warehouses, confiscate equipment and arrest activists.

Ten rebels were arrested on conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and conspiracy to obstruct the highway.

Cops also confiscated six vans and vital pieces of infrastructure for Monday’s International Rebellion.

Cops from the Territorial Support Group used a battering ram to gain entry to the warehouse in south London.

“The escalating of pre-emptive tactics by the government and police is a sign that we are being heard and acknowledged as a significant movement,” said XR.

“The government can take our structures, but we remain resolution in our preparation for the rebellion. We call for rebels to remain adaptable, creative and joyful whatever we are presented with.”

Chaotic scenes saw cops stop anyone leaving the police cordon with equipment, with reports coming in of one rebel arrested for driving a van carrying a gazebo.

Police seized bins, food and disabled toilets. XR said it was taking legal advice to pursue whether the cop’s actions were a “violation of both the police’s duty of care, and of the public right to protest”.

Activists managed to get equipment out from the police cordon and have transported it to other sites across the capital, including in churches in central London.

XR said much of the infrastructure had been moved out earlier in the day, and “as police got ready to bring down the door, quick witted rebels inside the building were carrying priority gear to safety through the back exit”.

The group is asking for donations including kitchen equipment, wheelie bins, sound equipment, food and waterproofs.

Meanwhile in Paris, rebels began their International Rebellion action on Saturday by occupying a shopping centre.

Hundreds of rebels, and some Yellow Vests protesters, entered the Italie Deux centre, locked the doors and barricaded themselves inside.

Climbers scaled the glass front of the centre and hung large banners, one of them declaring, “Radical ecology, death to capitalism.”

Clea said, “It is time to change the situation and to say our society is going to a terrible disaster for humanity. We came to show we are here and we don’t ever give up.”

In London XR is expecting at least 1,000 rebels to gather at Hyde Park on Sunday for an opening ceremony ahead of taking to the streets in Westminster on Monday.

And the group said the weekend was “a pretty promising start”.

“Already we’re showing what makes us unstoppable, and already the status quo has found itself in a dilemma between untenable repression and allowing us to tell the truth that our world needs to hear” it said.

The Met’s actions are an indication of how it’s likely to police the rebellion. After the Met called for more powers to move protesters last week, its looking likely a more heavy handed approach than the policing operation in April.

It also shows how the state is ready to flex its muscles at any movement that demands radical change and resists.

This weekend’s developments make the International Rebellion even more important. Everyone should try and support it any way they can.

 


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