Trafalgar Square on the morning of Tuesday 15.10 after the cops had cleared it of Extinction Rebellion protesters

On Monday (14.10), the Metropolitan Police used Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 to order Extinction Rebellion (XR) to cease their series of protests across central London: UPDATE: Extinction Rebellion protests. After this was announced and XR were allegedly informed, the cops moved in swiftly to remove protesters from Trafalgar Square. According to this report – Extinction Rebellion activists defy London-wide protest ban – protesters intend to defy the ban.

People we know who are better informed about the ins and outs of protest law than we are, seem to think that this blanket ban by the cops is unlawful as it stretches the boundaries of how Section 14 can be applied. Conditions are only supposed to be for location (which you think would be fairly specific), numbers and duration. So, that could mean a legal challenge…

This is an ongoing, fluid situation. As we write this piece, actions are ongoing that will test the resolve of the cops – and whoever is pulling their strings from higher up in the food chain – in enforcing this ban. Our feeling is that the authorities are testing the water to see how determined protesters will be in defying the ban and what the public reaction will be to more forceful attempts to enforce it.

We’d like to think that this will be a wake up call for those XR activists who have been seeing the cops as their ‘friends’. After Monday, any XR activists who persist with this really need to ask themselves some searching questions about their understanding of the political, economic and social system we live under. Because, from where we’re standing, it’s looking to be deeply flawed…