As the Extinction Rebellion protests continue in London, five people have been charged for climbing on top of London Underground trains. Two women and two men climbed on top of trains at Shadwell Station, leading to commuters shouting “we’re on an electric train”, dragging some of the protestors down. Eventually, the activists were charged with acting contrary to Section 36 of the Malicious Damage Act.
Separately, at Canning Town station, similar scenes occurred as two protestors halted a train by using a ladder to get on top and then unfurling a banner reading “Business as usual = death”. Once again, a protestor was dragged down from the top and then was set upon by the commuters, being kicked while on the floor.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticised the protestors, stating that: “illegal action is extremely dangerous, counterproductive and is causing unacceptable disruption to Londoners who use public transport to get to work”.
A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion said that they were “incredibly sad at how events unfolded this morning and are using this as an opportunity to learn and reflect as an organisation”. He then followed it up by saying that though their aim was to cause disruption, they would be endeavouring to do so in a way that “does not discriminate against hard-working individuals”.
This comes after a ban on Extinction Rebellion protesting by the Metropolitan Police, which has led to over 1600 arrests. The ban makes any gathering of two or more people unlawful if it is connected to the Extinction Rebellion Autumn Uprising. Mr Khan stated that “neither he nor the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime” were informed prior to the decision and proceeded to say he met with senior officers in order to determine the reasoning behind the ban. The Metropolitan Police then clarified that their position was that it was not a ban on any protest or gathering, just on those connected with the Extinction Rebellion after “sustained, unlawful assembly and protest”.