The High Court has branded last month’s police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests as unlawful.
The move came after activists shut down large parts of Westminster and other areas of central London in 10 days of climate change protests, leading to the Metropolitan Police issuing a city-wide ban on 14th October under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
The ban prevented two or more people from the group taking part in protests but High Court judges have now ruled the police had no power to do this because the law did not cover “separate assemblies”.
Extinction Rebellion has suggested that the Metropolitan Police could now see “hundreds” of arrested protestors pursuing legal action.
Despite the force having argued that the ban was the only way to tackle widespread disruption, the High Court said: “There are powers contained in the 1986 Act which might be lawfully used to control future protests which are deliberately designed to “take police resources to breaking point.”
The Metropolitan Police responded: “Whilst the Metropolitan Police Service is disappointed by today’s judgement we of course will respect the decision of the court. We will now carefully consider the judgement before deciding on our next steps.
“The operational policing decision to amend the conditions on the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’ protest was made on Monday, 14 October. This decision was taken after much thought and followed more than a week of serious disruption to London which required a significant police response in challenging circumstances.”