The High Court ruled on Wednesday that a ban on protests in London by the climate alarmist group Extinction Rebellion was unlawful, which could lead to hundreds of lawsuits from XR members.
The Metropolitan Police arrested 1,832 Extinction Rebellion protesters last month during the so-called “Autumn Uprising” that saw activists occupy the London City Airport, attempt to shut down the London Underground, and establish an encampment in Trafalgar Square.
In response to XR’s “shut down” tactics, the police attempted to ban demonstrations under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
On Wednesday, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Chamberlain ruled that the police did not have the authority to impose the ban, reports the BBC.
Explaining the High Court’s ruling, Lord Justice Dingemans said: “Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if coordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of… the Act.”
“The XR autumn uprising intended to be held from October 14 to 19 was not, therefore, a public assembly… therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under… the Act.”
— James Delingpole QC (@JamesDelingpole) November 4, 2019
In the case, the Metropolitan Police’s lawyers had argued that enacting the ban was the only way of dealing with the mass disruptions caused by the protesters.
Extinction Rebellion lawyers argued that the ban was “hastily imposed”, and that the Met could face hundreds of lawsuits from XR members who were arrested during the period in which the Section 14 Order was in place.
The Guardian reports that Tobias Garnett, a part of XR’s legal team, said: “It means there are a couple of hundred people whose arrests were maybe unlawful. That means they might have a cause of false imprisonment.”
So far this year, Extinction Rebellion has cost taxpayers over £37 million — more than double the annual budget for the Violent Crime Task Force.
Extinction Rebellion Members Paid £400 Per Week to 'Shut Down' Britain https://t.co/hbQcSVlPbJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 13, 2019