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Extinction Rebellion plots return to County Hall for latest NDR western link protest

PUBLISHED: 16:55 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:22 05 July 2019

Climate change campaigners occupy Norfolk County Council chamber at budget meeting. Picture Dan Grimmer.

Climate change campaigners occupy Norfolk County Council chamber at budget meeting. Picture Dan Grimmer.

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The climate activist group which brought Norfolk County Council to a halt is preparing to return to County Hall this month.

Rupert Read from Extinction Rebellion makes speech during the Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstration outside The Forum in NorwichRupert Read from Extinction Rebellion makes speech during the Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstration outside The Forum in Norwich

With Norfolk County Council's cabinet poised to finalise its preferred route for a western link to the Northern Distributor Road on Monday, July 15, protestors from Extinction Rebellion's branch in Norwich have selected this date for their next statement.

In February, the local branch of the group occupied the chamber as full council met, bringing the meeting to an abrupt halt for more than four hours.

And on July 15, the group has planned another demonstration to coincide with the latest set of discussions over the so-called missing link to the £205m road.

Rupert Read, who is a local and national spokesman for Extinction Rebellion, said: "I think our last protest at County Hall was one of the group's proudest moments and we really feel like since then we have been taken much more seriously.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

"However, while I feel we've been listened to more, the fact the council still seems to want to press forward with this road shows our message has not yet been received."

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The group has been militant in its views against the proposed new road, which will link the Broadland Northway with the A47.

Dr Read added: "I can't go too much into what we have planned but there will be a robust, but peaceful protest on the day.

"Everything we do is peaceful, which is part of why I feel we have gained so much sympathy and support - people really are becoming more aware of the emergency we are in and how we are promoting it."

The last County Hall protest saw dozens of campaigners occupy the council chamber and four people arrested.

Andrew Proctor, Conservative leader of Norfolk County 
Council, however, reminded the group that while the cabinet meeting is held in public, it is not a public meeting.

He said: "People are entitled to come along and listen to what is said.

"If people want to make their points in a peaceful and dignified manner, we are happy to let them do so, but it is a business meeting for us and we need to treat it as such."

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