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Extinction Rebellion disruption will be met with 'firm' response, Cressida Dick tells LBC
12 August 2021, 11:46 | Updated: 12 August 2021, 11:56
Police will tackle planned Extinction Rebellion protests with a "fair but firm" response because Londoners do not want disruptive protests, the Met's commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has told LBC.
Speaking on Call the Commissioner with LBC's Nick Ferrari, London's top officer said she was "very disappointed" over the climate protesters' plans to spend a fortnight demonstrating, with a particular focus on the City.
She threatened the climate activists, who she branded as sometimes "disingenuous" when it comes to interacting with police, with "pre-emptive" action to stop them from causing disruption that takes a long time to clear up.
Dame Cressida told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: "I am, and I suspect I speak for many many Londoners, very disappointed that Extinction Rebellion have announced they're going to spend perhaps two weeks in London.
"I don't think London supports hugely disruptive protests which cause people not to be able to go around their normal business at all.
"The fact they've chosen to do it over the August bank holiday, which for us is always our peak weekend of the year, is extremely frustrating, frankly."
Extinction Rebellion is ramping up its demonstrations ahead of the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow later this year.
The protests, "Impossible Rebellion", will see the group target eight sites in London, according to the Times.
The focus is on disrupting the City of London and it wants the Government to agree to stop all new investments in fossil fuel.
Extinction Rebellion has previously blocked roads, leading to criticism that their protests could affect the emergency services.
Dame Cressida said the Met has taken pre-emptive action to stop protests in the past, including taking materials from a warehouse that could have been used to build structures that take time to remove.
She said officers had stopped the group from putting manure on the road and causing damage.
"Whoever turns up next time they will be met with a fair, lawful, but firm, and where we possibly can, preemptive response," the commissioner said.
While she accepted protesters have the right to cause a small amount of disruption, she criticised Extinction Rebellion's interaction with police.
"Extinction Rebellion do speak to us, I have to say that on many occasions they have been, I would say, disingenuous, they certainly don't seem in control of their colleagues and often what they say turns out not to be true.
"On this occasion as far as I am aware they have not spoken to us at all despite many, many attempts by us so I would ask them to speak to us."
She added that the new police and crime bill, which has caused protests amid concerns it would affect the right to protest, gives officers "slightly stronger powers" to deal with disruption.