COPS have arrested ten people ahead of a planned two weeks of protest by environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed seven women and three men were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.
The arrests took place in Cleaver Street, after officers broke their way into the former Lambeth County Court building which the protesters had used to store supplies for a fortnight of protest.
Members of Extinction Rebellion said police confiscated six vehicles as well as gazebos, portable toilets and bean bags – and have since claimed that the arrests were pre-emptive.
The activist group plans to close roads around Westminster and hold a sit-in at London City Airport as part of worldwide environmental protests set to begin on Monday.
The protests are set to bring disruption to the centre of the capital as part of an “international rebellion” around the world calling for urgent action on the climate and wildlife emergencies.
Popular areas of the capital including Trafalgar Square, Lambeth and Westminster Bridges and the Houses of Parliament are expected to be targeted, in addition to a number of government departments.
Organisers are expecting up to 30,000 people to be involved in the protests over the next fortnight, making them five times bigger than the protests that caused major disruption to London in April.
Extinction Rebellion has now called for members of the public to replace the items confiscated by police before Monday.
The group said: “This escalation of pre-emptive tactics by the Government and police is a sign that we are being heard and acknowledged as a significant movement.
“We ask that the Government focus their attention and resources on responding to the Climate and Ecological Emergency which threatens us all.
“The Government can take our structures, but we remain resolute in our preparation for the Rebellion. We call for rebels to remain adaptable, creative and joyful whatever we are presented with.”
The Metropolitan Police said: “The Met is aware of a number of planned demonstrations and protests by Extinction Rebellion commencing Monday, 7 October for up to two weeks, expected to take place across a number of central London locations.
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“The Met have been preparing for this protest for several weeks now. The policing operation will be proportionate to balance the right to a peaceful protest, while ensuring disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.
“Officers from across the Met will be deployed to support the public order operation, balanced against policing the rest of London.”
The force declined to comment about specific allegations of pre-emptive arrest.
Extinction Rebellion eco-warriors managed to cover themselves in fake blood when they tried to use a fire engine to cover the Treasury in fake blood last Thursday.
The publicity stunt though went badly wrong though when the bungling activists misjudged the pressure of the fire hose and covered the road and themselves in the red liquid.
A splinter group known as Animal Rebellion is also said to be planning a campaign of “direct action” and thought to be targeting London’s markets and a government department as part of what they call a “people’s revolution”.
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The Animal Rebellion members are said to be planning to “occupy” both Smithfield and Billingsgate markets, where many of London’s restaurants and takeaways source their meat and fish.
They are also believed to be wanting to blockade the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as well as facilities belonging to Cargill and JBS, two of the UK’s largest meat firms next week.
It is also thought they want to target the offices of Red Tractor, the assurance scheme that certifies British meat has been responsibly sourced.
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