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

3 September 2021, 10:00

'We've removed 133 people glued or locked onto something and 31 of those are at height' - Met chief

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

Did your officers use batons on XR protesters

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

Extinction Rebellion protestor chains himself to van in London

"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

Tom Weatherall is still searching for his treasured medals which went missing in France

Renewed plea for missing medals lost in France as RAF veteran gifted with set of replicas

'Economically Brexit's working': Nigel Farage says but claims it has 'not been properly implimented'

'Economically Brexit's working': Nigel Farage says but claims it has 'not been properly implemented'

Nigel Farage says Germans should 'get a sense of humour' amid calls for football fans who chant 'Ten German Bombers' to be prosecuted

Nigel Farage says Germans need to 'get a sense of humour' if football fans sing Ten German Bombers chant

Nigel Farage in the LBC studio today and (right) on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire this week

'This is how ordinary people speak': Farage defends Reform UK candidates after anti-Islam and far-right comments exposed

Exclusive
Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride was put on the spot by an LBC listener from a "Blue Wall" constituency rained down a barrage of complaints about soaring mortgages, the NHS crisis, crumbling schools and roads, and dentist shortages.

'Why would anyone sane vote for the Tories?': Minister put on the spot with barrage of complaints from LBC listener

Mr Weatherall's lost medals

Nick Ferrari offers £500 reward for return of RAF veteran's medals lost yesterday in Ranville, France

Kemi Badenoch rules out serving alongside Nigel Farage after he hints at Tory takeover.

Nigel Farage 'wants to destroy the Conservative Party', Kemi Badenoch tells LBC

'We've got to give these people justice': Ministers vow to address any criminal wrongdoing in infected blood report

'We've got to give these people justice': Ministers vow to address any criminal wrongdoing in infected blood report

'Minuscule state' of RAF is 'utterly pathetic' meaning just one plane available for D-Day 80th anniversary parachute jumps

'Minuscule state' of RAF is 'utterly pathetic' with just one plane available for D-Day 80th anniversary parachute jumps

Chancellor brands Labour plan to tackle small boat crossings 'absolute joke' which will 'encourage more people to come'

Chancellor brands Labour plan to tackle small boat crossings 'absolute joke' which will 'encourage more people to come'

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick said Conservative voters were "on strike" and needed Rishi Sunak's government to be honest about the mistakes that have been made.

Tory voters are 'on strike' and Sunak needs to be 'honest' to keep them on side, Robert Jenrick says

The UK government is 'deeply concerned' about the assault on the Rafha crossing in Gaza and wants to see a 'credible military plan' from Israel.

UK government 'deeply concerned and need to see credible military plans' after Israeli offensive on Rafah crossing

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley has said that anyone using a 'swastika in the context of the Middle East crisis' will be arrested.

Met police chief pledges to arrest protesters using swastikas at Gaza protests

Sir Mark Rowley said filming interactions with police at protests had become "intrusive".

Filming police at protests is 'physically intrusive' and 'escalates situations', says Met Commissioner

Exclusive
Kemi Badenoch has launched a 'call for input'.

Gender-neutral toilets could lead to ‘schoolgirls getting UTIs because they don't want to share’, minister says

Exclusive
Met police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley spoke on LBC on Wednesday

Female officer’s hand reattached as Met chief reveals horror injuries suffered by police in Hainault sword attack