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'Extinction Rebellion had its strategy right' - MP leads legal challenge against police protest ban

PUBLISHED: 21:48 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:38 25 October 2019

Six Extinction Rebellion protestors from Norwich including Jamie Osborn outside Barclay's bank in Canary Wharf Picture: Norwich Extinction Rebellion

Six Extinction Rebellion protestors from Norwich including Jamie Osborn outside Barclay's bank in Canary Wharf Picture: Norwich Extinction Rebellion

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A Norfolk MP is one of a clutch of politicians mounting a legal challenge against the ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London.

MP for Norwich (South) Clive Lewis at the Fridays for Future climate protest on the steps of city hall in Norwich. Picture: Neil DidsburyMP for Norwich (South) Clive Lewis at the Fridays for Future climate protest on the steps of city hall in Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Clive Lewis, Labour member of parliament for Norwich South, is part of a group that is preparing a judicial review on behalf of the climate activists, opposing the decision of the Metropolitan Police to put a blanket ban on protests across the capital.

Mr Lewis joins a number of fellow politicians in mounting the challenge, which got under way today, following the ban which prohibited protests between 9pm on Monday, October 14 and 6pm on Friday October 18.

He said: "Extinction Rebellion (XR) is sounding the alarm about the climate and ecological emergency.

"Rather than trying to block our ears by shutting down their protests, we should be reacting to the danger they're alerting us to.

"Averting that danger requires urgent and radical change, not the criminalisation of peaceful protest."

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Mr Lewis said he felt placing a blanket ban on peaceful protest was a violation of freedom of speech and undermined the democratic system of the country.

The action came following a week in which XR activists brought large parts of the capital to a standstill with widespread demonstrations in places such as Westminster and in the city's financial district.

He added: "There is a balance between peaceful protesting and preventing people from going about their daily routines, however, I feel for the most part, Extinction Rebellion had its strategy right.

"This country has a long tradition of peaceful protest going back through the ages, where people push back against those trying to keep them down.

"I therefore think it is important that this right is kept and it was a pleasure to be asked to support this cause."

While the majority of the demonstrations took place in London, several members of the local XR movement were involved in the protests.

Among those involved from Norfolk was city councillor Jamie Osborn, who was arrested after supergluing his hand to a road in London as part of the protests.

Mr Osborn also glued his hand to the inside of revolving doors outside Barclay's bank in Canary Wharf.

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