A dozen activists, several linked to Extinction Rebellion, have been detained today after a series of raids across London, including against an art collective which had been painting banners ready for protests planned for tomorrow.
The XR campaigners, who were planning to be involved in a People’s Assembly Against Austerity March through the centre of London tomorrow, have been focusing on a Free The Press campaign against ownership of the media by a handful of press barons including Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere.
The group published a public listing of their intended activities for the day, but the Met Police nevertheless said they had …
“taken proactive action. Twelve people have been arrested at three locations in London. During the arrests, a number of items were seized by officers, including bamboo structures, lock-on equipment and other items which could be used to cause criminal damage and obstructions.”
In a statement responding to the arrest of four women at an east London warehouse as part of the raids XR said:
“The women were ‘caught in the act’ creating art for Extinction Rebellion’s Free the Press march on Sunday.
“This is what happens when people take action against the corrupt, billionaire-owned “free press”. We have to wonder what it is about art that’s so threatening? Can we be sure Rupert Murdoch hasn’t been on the phone to the Home Secretary demanding she shut our protests down after her ‘Priti’ dodgy behaviour on the night of the September 5th blockade of the Broxbourne printworks? Is this a move to – dare we suggest it – suppress free speech?
“The Free the Press march, which begins at midday on Sunday in Parliament Square, highlights the fact that four tax-avoiding, climate sceptical billionaires – Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, Sir Frederik Barclay and Baron Evegeny Lebedev – own 68% of the UK’s print media, manipulating the truth and sewing division among the general public for profit.”
A video of the mob-handed raid can be found below:
Pic: A woman is detained during the art factory raid in east London, from the Extinction Rebellion UK newswire