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Chakrabarti criticises Scotland Yard's plans to prosecute XR protesters

SHADOW attorney general Shami Chakrabarti has hit out at Scotland Yard’s plans to push for the prosecution of 1,130 Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmental protesters.

So far, more than 70 activists have been charged over the April demonstrations that brought parts of London to a standstill.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said on Friday that a team of 30 officers is investigating all of the people arrested during the 10 days of protests.

Ms Chakrabarti said yesterday: “The deputy assistant commissioner would be wise to remember his constitutional role, which is not that of prosecutor, judge or commentator.

“The police perform a vital role in preserving the law and keeping the peace, which includes safeguarding the rights of peaceful protesters.

“The next Labour government will review the statute book to ensure that the right to peaceful protest is robustly protected.”

XR’s tactics included asking volunteers to deliberately get arrested to cause maximum disruption at roadblocks on Waterloo bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, while others glued themselves to trains and buildings.

The group’s spokesman Ronan McNern said the Met’s hard-line approach could be in XR’s favour.

“We have seen doctors, we have seen XR youth – kids with their parents’ permission – doing civil disobedience,” he said.

“If the Met plan is to take those people and put them through the court system, in a way it serves the purpose of Extinction Rebellion.

“More people will know who these people are protesting [against]. Either way, we win.”

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