Police Union Chief Defends Clearing "Bonkers" Protest On Trafalgar Square

15 October 2019, 17:44 | Updated: 15 October 2019, 17:56

The Met Police Federation's Chairman, Ken Marsh, told Eddie Mair that Extinction Rebellion protesters weren't following instructions so it was right to have them removed from a public square.

Eddie Mair said: "It's suggested that to move people from a public square in London where they've been given clearance to demonstrate is police overreach, what do you think?"

Marsh replied: "I don't think that for one minute, you've got to put it into context. What my colleagues have been up against for the last 7,8,9 days... my colleagues, funnily enough, are human beings. They are being stretched to the limits that are just not acceptable.

"12, 14, 16 hour days, every day, non stop. We got to the point and my senior colleagues made these decisions around where we were right now, they've made their point, they had their opportunity, but they would not take heed to what they were being told to do at the correct times.

Enough is enough, we had the right to remove them from where they were, and they were moved peacefully."

Police Union Chief Defends Clearing "Bonkers" Protest On Trafalgar Square
Police Union Chief Defends Clearing "Bonkers" Protest On Trafalgar Square. Picture: PA

Eddie Mair then asked: "If they were still demonstrating, if they were causing unnecessary disruption... why not simply arrest them there and allow the Trafalgar Square demonstration to carry on?"

Marsh responded: "Well, let's have it correct. You've been given some quite strange truths here. They were placed in Trafalgar Square to stop them demonstrating elsewhere. That's the first thing.

"The second thing to it is, no one has the right to demonstrate in a public place, be it footway or carriageway. It is by consent. So that was being allowed to take place.

So therefore, we get to the point where when individuals want to carry their whole worldly goods into an area, which is a public space, then we have the right to stop that. That's what happened."

Eddie then said: "I take your point, I was making the point to you about Trafalgar Square. Is it simply because they set up tents, what was it that really forced them to be moved, do you think?"

Marsh replied: "Because they wouldn't take note of what they were being told to do. They were merging out from the Trafalgar Square area for a start."

He added: "We've got officers from Scotland, all the way down the country helping us with this.

You know they talk about protecting and saving the world. Look at the emissions Scottish officers in their vehicles up and down in vans are causing. This is bonkers, what is going on."