Extinction Rebellion listed as 'extremist' by anti-terror police

11 January 2020, 11:20 | Updated: 11 January 2020, 12:02

Extinction Rebellion has defended its activists after police included the group on a list of extremist ideologies in a counter-terrorism report.

Guidance drawn up by Counter Terror Police South East (CTPSE) listed the environmental protest group alongside organisations such as National Action, and Islamic extremists, according to documents seen by The Guardian.

Extinction Rebellion branded the label a "terrorism slur" and a "deliberate attempt to silence" its activists.

CTPSE admitted an "error of judgement" and is reviewing the guide.

The 12-page "safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism" document, issued to teachers and police officers, among others, has reportedly been recalled.

The document says Extinction Rebellion is a threat due to its "anti-establishment philosophy".

It also warns that expressions of support could include "people speaking in strong or emotive terms about environmental issues like climate change, ecology, fracking, airport expansion or pollution".

Extinction Rebellion said: "How dare they? Children up and down the country are desperately fighting for a future.

"Teachers, grandparents, nurses have been trying their best with loving nonviolence to get politicians and big business to do something about the dire state of our planet.

"And this is how the establishment responds."

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, the head of CTPSE, said: "I would like to make it quite clear that we do not classify Extinction Rebellion as an extremist organisation.

"The inclusion of Extinction Rebellion in this document was an error of judgement and we will now be reviewing all of the contents as a result."

Extinction Rebellion, which describes itself on its website "as an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse" has held climate change protests across the globe.

Most recently, its activists joined thousands of Australians in a demonstration in Sydney at a lack of government action on climate change amid the bushfire crisis.

The group also held 10 days of protests in central London in October, which shut down key areas of the capital, including Westminster, The City and London City Airport.