London’s Metropolitan Police watched as Extinction Rebellion activists committed vandalism against government property by digging up grass outside of the Home Office.
At least two police officers were seen in footage and photographs taken by news blog Guido Fawkes standing by as dozens of mostly young eco-extremists dug up mounds of grass and dirt with shovels whilst chanting: “Put the coal back in the hole.”
The “protest” was aimed at stopping the expansion of the Pont Balley mine in County Durham.
One woman is heard yelling: “Someone make the police do something!”
Priti is not going to be happy when she finds out the police are just watching them dig up the lawn outside the Home Office… pic.twitter.com/KzltIF21DX
— Gaia Fawkes (@GaiaFawkes) February 13, 2020
The Telegraph also caught footage of the extremists, who claim to care for the environment, ripping up sods of grass and flinging them onto the concrete pavement below.
In reaction to a Twitter thread started by Extinction Rebellion London including photographs of the destruction, social media users criticised the eco-extremists, calling them vandals and hypocrites for tearing up grass whilst protesting on grounds of protecting the environment.
Police did finally arrest several of the vandals later on, with some appearing quite pleased to be put in handcuffs as officers carried their dead-weighted bodies off the mounds of dirt and ravaged greenery.
*LONDON ACTION NOW*
Rebels dig open-cast hole outside government to support Durham community against coal mine expansion.@RobertJenrick – reject approval. We are in a hole, stop digging!#XR – 3 day shut down of coal mine coming: https://t.co/hKBknu1O7i pic.twitter.com/ntd0ib0Mur
— Extinction Rebellion London 🌍 (@XRLondon) February 13, 2020
A Scotland Yard spokesman told the MailOnline that Met officers responded to the Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Marsham Street at just before 10 a.m. on Thursday morning.
He said: “When they attended the scene, they found demonstrators digging up a grassed area. Seven people (three females and four males, no further details at this time) were arrested for criminal damage. They have been taken to a central London police station. Enquiries are ongoing.”
The police’s initial reaction will likely garner more criticism, however.
The cost of policing Extinction Rebellion protests has taken a toll on London’s policing. In October 2019, it was revealed that policing XR protests had cost £37 million that year to date, with the two-week-long Autumn Rising demonstration costing at least £21 million alone.
To put this in context, the annual budget of the Violent Crime Taskforce is £15 million.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick admitted last year that it was not just a matter of cost, but policing the protests had resulted in “a less good service to the rest of London” and called on Extinction Rebellion to consider the strain to the police, peacekeeping, and taxpayers.
Delingpole: Exposed? Soros on List of Mega-Rich Extinction Rebellion Backers https://t.co/oLDM2nhkTF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 3, 2019
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in August there would be 20,000 new police officers. However, those plans may be thwarted due to the financial strain caused by policing the Extinction Rebellion protests, according to sources speaking to The Telegraph.
In an article published on Sunday, it was revealed the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is responsible for the Met, has called on the government to pay towards a £31 million bill for policing events including Brexit protests, the NATO summit, President Donald Trump’s state visit, the Grenfell fire, and Extinction Rebellion demonstrations.
A Home Office source told the newspaper: “It’s hardly surprising to see the mayor getting the excuses for his mountain of failures in before Londoners head to the polls for the mayoral election.”
The Home Office has said no decision has been made on the application for more funding from central government.
Watch: ‘Take Down’ Civilisation, Says Extinction Rebellion Co-Founder https://t.co/YigA4fqFo7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 5, 2020
London police had tried to rein in the disruptive “environmental” protests by attempting to ban the demonstrations in late last year. However, the High Court sided with the eco-extremists in November, with green lawyers claiming that XR members could sue Scotland Yard for retrospective unlawful detentions when the ban was in place.
Lobbyists went into overdrive to condemn police after it was revealed in January that an English counter-terror unit in the south-east had labelled Extinction Rebellion an extremist group in one of its safeguarding booklets. The force was quickly pressured to apologise.
However, City of London police — which is separate from the Met — came to a similar conclusion when it was reported that it deemed XR one of its “key threats” in a counter-terrorism assessment.
Police Scotland also included Extinction Rebellion in one of their anti-extremism documents revealed in February.
A report published in July 2019 by Policy Exchange determined that Extinction Rebellion leaders seek a “subversive agenda”, “rooted in the political extremism of anarchism, eco-socialism and radical anti-capitalist environmentalism”.
“The ‘civil resistance model’ they espouse is intended to achieve mass protest accompanied by law-breaking — leading eventually to the breakdown of democracy and the state. Obscured from public view, these objectives mark Extinction Rebellion’s campaign out as an extremist one that seeks to break down the established civil order and liberal democracy in the UK,” the report warned.
Delingpole: Top Terror Cop Says ‘Extinction Rebellion Are Dangerous Extremists. Jail Them!’ https://t.co/TD3qGx70Z7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 18, 2019