Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed not to stand by as pressure group Extinction Rebellion (XR) uses “dangerous tactics in the name of environmentalism”.
The group staged “protest of one” road blocks on Saturday to demonstrate against the Government’s lack of action on climate change.
Ms Patel criticised XR just days after six Extinction Rebellion protesters were cleared of causing criminal damage to Shell’s London headquarters despite the judge directing jurors they had no defence in law.
She told The Sun on Sunday: “I would not be delivering on my promise to the law-abiding majority if I stood by as Extinction Rebellion deployed dangerous tactics in the name of environmentalism.”
Saturday’s protests coincided with a number of demonstrations against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The Bill was drafted partly in response to previous disruptive action by XR and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The proposed legislation would give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests – including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Patel said: “The powers will help the police to balance the rights of protesters to demonstrate peacefully against the rights of others to go about their daily business, and to dedicate their resources to keeping the public safe.
“That is democracy in action.”
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