XR comes unstuck: Met reveals 81 protesters unglued by officers during demos

3 September 2021, 10:00

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

'We've removed 81 Extinction Rebellion protesters glued onto something, 52 locked onto something and 31 of those are at height,' a Metropolitan Police chief has told LBC.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations Matt Twist, the media spokesperson for the force's response to the last fortnight of XR protests, spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari on Friday morning.

Asked how he would characterise the police's handling of the latest demonstrations, he said: "It's been hard work. Every day we've had over 2,000, or around 2,000 officers, deployed directly to manage some of the protests that we've seen.

"We know Extinction Rebellion have the right to protest and they have the right to assemble, but these are qualified rights, and our view is, at times, over this past period, they've overstepped that line and broken the law and taken very deliberate steps to cause very serious disruption to the people, businesses and communities of London.

"It's at that point that we're stepping in and making arrests."

Read more: XR protesters target WWF headquarters in latest demonstration

Watch: Sadiq Khan concerned XR is 'driving people away' from cause

Nick Ferrari then raised comments made by former police officer Paul Stephens, who criticised the Met for its handling of the protesters who tried to block London Bridge with an open-top bus.

"The retired detective sergeant said it's 'an appalling example of policing - clearly they've got order to use force on protesters who are trying to protest peacefully in the street'. Is he right on that?" Nick asked.

Mr Twist replied: "No, he's completely wrong. That's absolutely wrong.

"What we did see there, and I've seen the footage, I've seen what officers have done, and over a number of days we've seen Extinction Rebellion try and cause serious disruption, either by putting up a large bamboo structure outside the Science Museum on the A4 or by stopping a bus and trying to lock onto it.

Read more: XR blocks off part of London Bridge as climate protests continue

Watch: Police clear Extinction Rebellion protesters from London Bridge

"From what I've seen the officers were trying to prevent further people locking onto that device."

He said officers "can only react as quickly as we can" but people still managed to glue themselves to the road around the bus and to lock themselves underneath the bus.

"But the quick actions of the officers getting onto it stopped many more hours of disruption because, sadly, one person locked onto a structure, using very complex techniques, can take a while to remove," he added.

"The figures we're talking about here: in the last 10 days we've removed 81 people who have been glued onto something, we've removed 52 who have been locked onto something and 31 of those are at height, which makes it all the more complex and difficult."

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Nick Ferrari mocks caller who blames Brexit for water crisis

Nick Ferrari mocks caller who blames Brexit for water crisis

Nick Ferrari gobsmacked after caller says he has had seven bikes stolen.

Nick Ferrari gobsmacked at how caller has had seven bikes stolen

LBC's Reporter Charlotte Lynch took a dip off the Cornish Coast

Nick Ferrari's 'swimming in shark infested waters' reporter challenge

Jacob Rees-Mogg said civil servants had been offered a course on witchcraft

Courses on Check Yo Privilege and witchcraft for civil servants are a waste of time, says JRM

The Defence Secretary was speaking to Nick Ferrari

Ben Wallace accuses Rishi Suank of trying to block extra cash for defence spending

Ben Wallace is backing Liz Truss

'Feisty' Truss is my choice for PM, says Ben Wallace as he reveals endorsement

Tory party co-chair looks ahead to LBC leadership hustings with Nick Ferrari

Tory party co-chairman looks ahead to LBC leadership hustings with Nick Ferrari

'Totally invented tosh': Nadine Dorries dismisses claims she'd give up her constituency seat for Boris

'Totally invented tosh': Nadine Dorries dismisses claims she'd give up seat for Boris

Sunak is 'opposed to transparency' over police league table plans, says minister

Sunak is 'opposed to transparency' over police league table plans, says minister

Exclusive
'Do you want him evicted?': Mick Lynch defends RMT deputy living in council flat on £78k

'Do you want him evicted?': Mick Lynch defends RMT deputy living in council flat on £78k

Exclusive
Social workers 'showed no interest' in tragic Lily-Mai case, grandfather tells LBC

Social workers showed 'no interest' in tragic Lily-Mai case, grandfather tells LBC

A furious Nick Ferrari summed up the issue

Nick Ferrari slams 'sanctimonious' BBC over Princess Diana interview

Nick Ferrari mocks Prince Harry after UN speech

Nick Ferrari mocks Prince Harry after UN speech - 'Buy the bloke a Peroni!'

Mordant 'spent months' preparing for Tory leadership campaign

Mordaunt 'left other ministers to pick up the pieces as she planned leadership bid'

Heat warnings 'the erosion of our freedoms', Tory MP fumes

Heat warnings 'the erosion of our freedoms', Tory MP fumes

Boy punished for wearing shorts would've held skirt protest to stay in school, says dad

Boy punished for wearing shorts would've held skirt protest to stay in school, says dad