REVEALED: Extinction Rebellion protests cost £50million to police… and bosses warn millions MORE could be spent during upcoming ‘fortnight of action’
- Policing the last three major Extinction Rebellion protests has cost £50 million
- The eco-warriors plan to disrupt the City of London may cost millions more
- Senior Tories, businesses and commuters are now braced for more disruption
Policing the last three major Extinction Rebellion protests cost £50million and next week’s fortnight of action is set to cost many millions more, Scotland Yard chiefs warned yesterday.
Previous demonstrations saw the group block Waterloo Bridge in London for more than a week, park a pink yacht in Oxford Circus, glue themselves to roads and stop the distribution of 3.5million newspapers by blockading a printing press.
With another protest looming, senior Tories, businesses and commuters are braced for more disruption to life and the economy.
Policing the last three major Extinction Rebellion protests cost £50million
Fashion designer on green mission
The brains behind what could be Extinction Rebellion’s longest ever protest is a fashion designer from Devon with a lengthy rap sheet.
Clare Farrell, 38, has been promoting plans to unleash endless disruption on London despite being arrested on four previous occasions.
It comes as documents reveal the group is preparing for up to 1,500 arrests during the demonstrations – and is looking for at least 300 ‘rebels’ who are willing to go to jail. Promotional material is goading activists to take part in ‘higher risk’ activities, including calls to ‘glue yourself to a door’ and ‘disobey in the dock’.
Last week, Farrell, an XR co-founder, told BBC Newsnight: ‘We don’t need to be particularly popular, what we need to be is effective.’
She was first arrested for civil disobedience in 2017. In April, she was arrested after 19 windows were smashed at HSBC’s Canary Wharf HQ.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith: ‘Extinction Rebellion have proven themselves to be desperate attention-seekers frantically trying to remain relevant and distracting from their own cause.
‘These protests will cause havoc for ordinary people.’
Senior officers warned that ambulances and police cars driving to emergencies could be delayed by the roadblocks and officers would have to be redeployed to cope with the chaos.
Commander Rachel Williams said the protests will cost taxpayers millions more on top of the £50million spent in April and October 2019 and September last year.
‘I’m in no doubt this year’s policing operation will run into the millions and will result in many officers sacrificing their time off to…bring order and safety to the streets of London,’ she said.
Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist said: ‘Every police officer committed to a large demonstration is one extracted away from their borough.
‘It is time spent away from the people of London in the parts where they are needed most – dealing with knife crime, domestic abuse and other crimes.’
During previous protests in the capital police made 3,672 arrests, 1,938 of which led to prosecutions with a 73 per cent conviction rate.
XR activist Zoe Blackler said she expected thousands to join the protests in London and across the country. Stephen Fry became the latest celebrity to offer the group his support yesterday, following the likes of actors Emma Thompson and Benedict Cumberbatch.
In a two-minute video Fry said: ‘‘I know XR are… loud, they’re disruptive… But what else is going to make politicians really recalibrate, realign, revolutionise politics so that it faces the horrors of climate change and all the damage we’re doing to our planet?’