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Guildford Extinction Rebellion Arrests In London Climate Change Protests

Published on: 15 Oct, 2019
Updated on: 15 Oct, 2019

At least five Guildford members of the climate change group, Extinction Rebellion (XR), have been arrested in London in the last week.

Protesting against government inaction, the Guildford arrestees were part of around 50 people from Guildford who joined the peaceful protests in the capital. Other demonstrations organised by XR were being coordinated around the world including in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Sydney and Montreal.

76 year old Hazel McGee, a member of the Guildford XR group, chained herself in a steel tube to another demonstrator in Whitehall and had to be cut free by police.

The protests blocked roads around the heart of government, including Whitehall, and in the city with the aim of compelling the government to act on climate change using civil disobedience.  With over 1,400 arrests so far, the continuing actions have stretched police resources with extra officers being brought in from as far away as Scotland.

The protestors blocked Whitehall and Trafalgar Square for three days causing major disruption to traffic. The police attempt to clear the area was halted after two days amid claims that they had run out of cells in London to hold the arrested protestors.

Ro Lavender, a 60 year old registered nurse from Guildford XR, said she was “in the right place at the right time playing my part” in the climate change protests in London.

The Guildford arrests in the first week of the protests were for Public Order offences for failing to leave Whitehall when directed by the police.

Hazel McGee, who had edited the Journal of the British Astronomical Society for 25 years, chained herself to another protestor and had to be cut away by the police. She said: “I was scared to start with. We are doing this because we have to do more about the climate crisis. The emergency is now.”

Ro Lavender, a self-employed registered nurse, locked herself onto another protestor overnight. She said: “I have been brought to this position because nothing else is working. The evidence is that we have a climate crisis. I felt calm and grateful and I knew that I was in the right place at the right time playing my part.”

Police surrounded protestors in Whitehall before clearing the road. Guildford Dragon reporter, 65 year old Hugh Coakley in the foreground, lay in the road chained to another protestor. The demonstrators blocked the road again for several hours after it had been initially cleared.

Hugh Coakley, a Chartered Engineer and a journalist with The Guildford Dragon NEWS, was arrested on Wednesday outside the Cabinet Office in Whitehall. He said: “The UN says that we have until 2030 to make significant changes. But investment in oil and gas is actually increasing and we are expanding our airports. It has to change. We need government to lead on change and it has to be before the current plan for 2050. If not now, then when?”

People in Guildford, when asked by The Guildford Dragon NEWS, generally agreed with the aims of the protests in London but not all were happy with the disruption caused. Of those spoken to, younger people appeared to be more supportive of both the climate change movement and the disruptive tactics.

Laura and Tutti Serra, a young couple from Guildford, said: “We love it. It is peaceful and a good way of the climate crisis being seen.”

But Sue Harris, 73 from Guildford, said that she was, “all for doing something” but was not convinced on the methods being used by the protestors. “They have been annoying people rather than getting people engaged.”

A police statement, excerpt from the London Evening Standard on Monday evening, declared that the demonstrations must completely cease.

In a rapidly developing situation, the Metropolitan police, who had previously accepted a level of protest and had designated Trafalgar Square as a protest zone, stated that all XR protests in the London Metropolitan and City of London areas must cease by 9pm Monday, October 14.

The Metropolitan Police said that the ban was imposed after “continued breaches” of a condition limiting the demonstration to Trafalgar Square.

The protests, dubbed as Extinction Rebellion’s Autumn Uprising, in London are planned to continue to the weekend and this morning the BBC reported that Extinction Rebellion activists are continuing protests despite the London-wide ban by police.

The group says it has taken initial steps towards a judicial review of the ban. Lawyers and politicians have also criticised the move.

Climate change protesters had moved to target the Department for Transport and the Security Service on Tuesday morning.

Guildford protestors Hazel McGee and Ro Lavender were released under investigation. Hugh Coakley has been bailed to appear at Westminster Court on November 6.

Tents and temporary facilities sprung up overnight in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens when the XR camp in St James’s Park was forced to move out of Westminster by the police.

In a rapidly changing protest, climate change protestors sat outside the Bank of England on Monday, October 14 and blocked roads outside Bank Station. A statement from XR said: “Extinction Rebellion this morning are disrupting the system bankrolling the environmental crisis.”

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Responses to Guildford Extinction Rebellion Arrests In London Climate Change Protests

  1. Steph Bleach Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you Guildford Dragon for highlighting the protests over the last 10 days in the capital. It was also great to see local rebels outside the Guildford station yesterday highlighting the problem on our doorstep.

  2. Anne Notley Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    I’m a Guildford XR member and was arrested Sunday outside New Scotland Yard. Not sure anyone knew about it!

    I was taken to Lewisham and after about 5-6 hours the police released pending further investigation.

    What is happening in London now re the police crackdown? Is anyone flouting it and, if so, how and where?

  3. P Mitchell (Ms) Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Well done to these protesters.

    When government after government has failed to listen to the scientists and are still failing to take the action required to stop more people around the world suffering the impact of climate change, the only thing left is to rebel, peacefully.

  4. Alison Moulden Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Well done to anyone forcing change on this issue. I’m so glad people in Guildford are aware of the issue, and care enough to do something about it.

  5. Susie Campbell Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Good, thought-provoking article. Peaceful civil disobedience like this seems to be the only way to bring a real sense of urgency to tackling the climate crisis.

    I am grateful to these protesters for putting themselves on the line for the sake of the planet, and future generations.

  6. Jim Rockford Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    These people have been brainwashed by the cult of global warming.

    There is absolutely no empirical evidence to demonstrate any warming whatsoever. In fact, the evidence is showing that we’ve been cooling since the 1950s.

    The big question is who and why is this agenda being pushed so hard?

    The momentum is against western civilisation. We will see the end of our way of life in our lifetime that is certain, but it will be tyranny that steals it, not the 0.04% of an inert gas that will bring it about.

    Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      October 16, 2019 at 6:48 pm

      While I totally agree these people are being led astray from the true facts, if Jim Rockford does not believe the planet is warming can he please expand on the ability of Google to produce two maps of the Columbus glacier in Alaska which shows it ten miles further back up the fjord in 2018 from where it was when I was there in 1994?

      • Robert Burch Reply

        October 18, 2019 at 10:16 pm

        Can Jim Allen elaborate on what he means by “being led astray from the true facts”?

        It would be good to hear Jim Rockford’s response to his question.

        • John Phillips Reply

          October 20, 2019 at 5:40 pm

          It would also be useful to know why Jim Rockford states that CO2 is an inert gas. It is nothing of the sort. It is not particularly reactive but it is involved in countless numbers of reactions, not least one fundamental to life in the form of photosynthesis. It also forms a weak acid with water and it will react violently with hot magnesium.

          How much notice should I take of the other claims when I know this one is obviously inaccurate.

  7. Julia Shaw Reply

    October 15, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Great work from these Guildford activists!

  8. Dave Middleton Reply

    October 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    I sympathise with the aims of Extinction Rebellion in so far as we must look after our planet better than we have. However, I do not agree with their tactics in London and elsewhere, where they engage in unlawful acts.

    Protests must be peaceful and lawful, for without the rule of law, the path to anarchy and mob rule is a short one. Mob rule never ends well.

  9. Valerie Thompson Reply

    October 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Many people have sympathy with young people wishing to ‘save the planet’! But many people are furious with the way they are going about it, preventing other people working and taking up so much police time while other crimes are going unpunished.

    Britain is doing more than most countries to reduce pollution and waste gases. Why don’t the protestors go to places where the pollution is appalling, like India or China, but of course, they won’t; they are not allowed to fly and they would be arrested straight away.

  10. John Schluter Reply

    October 16, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    I was employed in the refrigeration industry from the mid-1970s onwards. When the first evidence was presented about the harmful effects that unconfined CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) have on the ozone layer, there were, in much the same way that is evident today in respect of climate change, certain people and/or businesses that chose to ignore the evidence in the pursuit of corporate profit. The ozone layer is slowly repairing but it will take time.

    Well done to all the protestors.

  11. Katherine Clowser Reply

    October 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    A very interesting article and I am pleased to see so many local people getting involved and doing their best to look after our planet.

  12. Julian Cranwell Reply

    October 20, 2019 at 10:55 am

    I applaud their tactics and propose a rebellion against the environmentally ruinous local plan at Millmead.

    We have to make our council listen.

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