Bindmans instructed to send letter to Counter-Terrorism Police

XR Peace has joined a wide range of groups represented by Bindmans LLP, who have today sent a letter to the Counter-Terrorism Policing National Operations Centre objecting to their inclusion of their organisations and movement in the a ‘Counter-Terrorism Policing National Operations Centre (CTPNOC) Intelligence Signs & Symbols Guidance Document’ June 2019 (the ‘CTP Guidance’). The existence of this Guidance was first reported by the Guardian on Friday 17 January 2020.

XR Peace Action Coordinator Angie Zelter said “XR Peace have joined with other peaceful citizens groups to challenge the inclusion of Extinction Rebellion in the police counter-terrorism gudidance. Any suggestion that XR activists are terrorists must be challenged. Each of us make a core commitment to nonviolence at the heart of all of our actions.”

“We are not terrorists. But, in the face of the extreme risk now posed to the future of life on earth XR Peace rebels do take bold and brave actions that sometimes disrupt ongoing everyday activities. We take these extraordinary actions, sometimes risking imprisonment, in order to call attention to the urgency of the climate crisis and the role of militarism and war in that.”

The groups listed in the CTP Guidance currently instructing Bindmans are Animal Aid; Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Extinction Rebellion Peace; Trident Ploughshares; Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a representative of the Extinction Rebellion movement.

The CTP Guidance lists organisations deemed to fall within the following sub-categories: (1) Right Wing: including White Supremacist and White Nationalist; (2) Left Wing; (3) Animal Rights; and (4) Environmental.

There is, however, no attempt in the document to explain the reason for the inclusion of our clients or any other groups within the document. Moreover, the CTP Guidance implies that at least some of the activity conducted by all of the organisations listed is unlawful and that involvement with or support of such groups might be relevant to counter-terrorism, extremism or radicalisation.

It is not known to what extent the CTP Guidance has been shared nor in what context, but it is anticipated that it has been in circulation for over 6 months and that it has been shared widely including with the NHS, schools, universities, and social workers at local authorities. We are aware of at least one example of a primary school referring to the CTP Guidance on its’ website on a page discussing ‘Safeguarding and Child Protection’, where it is listed under the heading “Preventing extremism and radicalisation”.

Jamie Potter of Bindmans LLP has said:
“Our clients are peaceful organisations focused on lawful protest and engagement to pursue their legitimate aims. They are deeply concerned by the decision to list their organisations and movement in the CTP Guidance. They are also aware of numerous other organisations that share their concerns. Individuals affiliated with these organisations may have been referred to the Counter-Terrorism Policing National Operations Centre programmes including, but not limited to Prevent, as a result of their support and/or membership of these organisations and movement.

We invite Counter-terrorism Police to immediately acknowledge the unlawful inclusion of these groups within the CTP Guidance, apologise and take urgent steps to retract the guidance and clarify that that our clients, and other organisations, are of no interest to counter-terrorism police and have no involvement in extremism or radicalisation.”

In the House of Commons today (22 January) Minister for Immigration Brandon Lewis said: The Home Office “has oversight of the police on behalf of the home secretary. We are clear that the right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our just society and an indispensable channel of political and social expression.”

Jane Tallents, a Coordinator of XR Peace said “We welcome the Minister’s affirmation of the right to peaceful protest. However, at a time when we are facing twin existential threats to humanity and the planet we need lots of people to join in creative nonviolent action demanding government act now to reverse climate change and get rid of nuclear weapons.”

“As part of XR Peace we resisted the Metropolitan Police attempt to shut down Extinction Rebellion protests using a Section 14 Order. Not only will we continue to protest we will also actively challenge this latest attempt and all such attempts to stifle peaceful protest.”

Strategy and Plans

XR Peace is now deliberating on our strategy and plans for the next year or two.

We are likely to concentrate on the waste of resources, breaches of law and the climate impact of the UK defence and arms sales industries, especially of BAE Systems (the 4th largest arms dealer in the world with their greedy fingers in most live conflicts).

If any of you have ideas and would like to input into our strategising and planning then please contact us at xrpeace@gn.apc.org

If anyone wants to help research possible targets then also contact us.

We need to start preparing for our actions and need more dedicated XRPeace Affinity Groups (AGs). Anyone who wants to stop the damage that the militarisation of the world is inflicting are encouraged to get a local AG (affinity group) together.

Those people who are already in a regional or country XR group in the UK can also become an XRPeace AG, and then choose at any specific point in time what action they will support. There will be many times when the dates and timings of your local XR AG actions/commitments and those of XRPeace will not conflict. If you want to help and be linked in with our XRPeace actions please let us know so we can include you in the briefings and actions. Contact xrpeace@gn.apc.org and tell us the liaison contact for your XRPeace AG as soon as possible.

We are keeping a track on the legal fallout from October but need you to contact us with dates and information about any charges that emerge or cases that might come up.

Angie Zelter, who was arrested 5 times in October and charged 4 times, is exploring a civil case against the Met with the help of lawyers. This is since the High Court ruling that the Met had acted unlawfully in imposing a Section 14 on all XR activists meeting and resisting in London during the October Rebellion. We will keep you posted on the results.

Meanwhile the crowdfunder has been taken down after raising £2,252. A big thank you to all of you who contributed. The funds not already used will be held over to help future XRPeace activists with the costs surrounding legal proceedings. If fines already paid out are repaid by the courts due to successful civil proceedings against the Met, these will be repaid into the XRPeace fund too.

Meanwhile, XR Peace will continue to need funds to carry out its work so do please help when you can by donating here.

XR Peace draws breath, debriefs and prepares for the future.

We continue to reflect on the two weeks of the October Rebellion and all the preparation work that went in to it. We are also taking part in debriefing sessions across Extinction Rebellion. If anyone has any feedback to give us please get in touch.

Most of the time rebels arrested with XR Peace during the October Rebellion were released “under investigation”. After the April Rebellion hundreds of people were later charged and court cases are still ongoing with trials being heard most days in City of London Magistrates Court. A number of plea hearings for the October Rebellion are being heard however any involving the Section 14 order are currently being adjourned. On November 6th The High Court ruled that the Metropolitan Police’s blanket ban on Extinction Rebellion protest during the October Rebellion was unlawful, in a landmark judgment that reasserts the fundamental right to peaceful protest.

On the first day of the Rebellion as XR Peace claimed the road on The Embankment next to the MOD building 23 rebels were arrested for Obstruction of the Highway and Conspiracy to Obstruct the Highway. Later arrests at BAe Systems were for Aggravated Trespass so we are anticipating some court cases.

During the Rebellion several of our rebels were held overnight and taken to court. Angie Zelter pled guilty on a charge of failing to comply with the public assembly condition (Section 14) and, due to breach of a previously imposed conditional discharge from the April rebellion and her long arrest record was fined £460 plus a victim surcharge of £46 and costs of £85. At a second court appearance following blocking of Oxford Circus Angie was given a total of £1250 in fines, surcharge and court costs.  She is appealing the sentence for breach of the Section 14 Order because of the subsequent High Court ruling that the conditions of the Order were unlawful.

XR Peace ends it’s October Rebellion in London

Our successful two week October Rebellion has finished. All XR Peace rebels who were arrested have now been released, with many waiting to hear if they will receive court dates. A big thank you to everyone who came along or helped out in some way.

XR Peace outside the Supreme Court in London
XR Peace outside BAe Systems in London
Stuck in London: Angie glues herself onto a tripod in Oxford Circus

Extinction Rebellion Peace Protesting at UK Supreme Court

Citizens call on the UK Supreme Court to recognise the crime of Ecocide and the illegality of nuclear weapons, and to protect people’s rights to freedom of assembly.

Eight Extinction Rebellion Peace rebels, as part of the October Extinction Rebellion, are holding a protest this morning in front of the Supreme Court calling on the court to use its powers to uphold and strengthen international law in relation to human rights and earth rights. The rebels are glued to each other and are standing calmly in a semicircle in front of the court in spite of the imposition of a Section 14 Order earlier this week prohibiting any Extinction Rebellion protest in London.

Jo Blackman (56), an adult education tutor from Shrewsbury, said: “The Supreme Court needs to step up and act with integrity, wisdom and courage to protect people and planet as we face multiple existential threats to life on earth, including ultimately the survival of our own species. We are here today supporting the call for a new law of ecocide that would prohibit mass damage and destruction of the earth, including by fossil fuel extraction and burning, rainforest destruction, industrial agriculture and other acts which have been shown to be driving climate breakdown and mass extinctions.”

Brian Larkin (59) from Howgate in Scotland said:“The imposition of a Section 14 Order on Monday night banning any Extinction Rebellion protest in London is totally unacceptable and we are here today to call on the Supreme Court to protect people’s rights to freedom of assembly.”

Jane Tallents (61), of Howgate in Scotland said: “Climate change causes war and war causes climate change. About 6% of global carbon emissions are from military activity. As the climate crisis gains pace there will be increasing tension. If countries continue to resort to war as a means of attempting to solve conflict, we will not be able to avert catastrophic climate breakdown. Instead we must find new ways of thinking and work together to save our shared home.”

Angie Zelter (68),from Knighton in Wales, Coordinator of the Public Interest Case Against Trident (PICAT) said “We have asked the Attorney General to allow us to bring a case against the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary for conspiring to commit a war crime. This is because we have evidence that deploying Trident is such a conspiracy. The Attorney General has refused. We are asking the court to allow us to take this case to the courts. It is a crime to threaten mass destruction. The court needs to hear evidence. This is why I am here. We need the regulation of power by the law. Corporations and governments are not above the law.”

Sylvia Boyes (75), a Quaker from Keighley said: “We are calling on the court to end all arms sales, especially those to regimes such as Saudi Arabia where the weapons are being used in clear violation of international humanitarian law in the war on Yemen.”

XR Peace Rebels locked on inside gazebo as police move in to clear Trafalgar Square of protesters

Three XR Peace rebels and one London XR rebel were arrested after they were cut out of lock-ons inside the XR Peace gazebo at Trafalgar Square.

Police were clearing Trafalgar Square of protesters after having apparently amended the Section 14 order under which that site had been designated a lawful place for Extinction Rebellion rebels to protest.

Sylvia Boyes had immediately returned to Trafalgar Square after being arrested earlier in the day outside the entrance to BAE Systems. She joined Angie Zelter and Michael Buick, and all were later arrested and taken to Brixton police station.

All three XR Peace rebels have now been released. Angie and Sylvia were charged with violating the Section 14 order.

XR Peace rebels are determined to continue as part of this rebellion and are planning further actions this week. All welcome to join us. Contact us via Facebook or Twitter.

The XR Peace gazebo in Trafalgar Square earlier in the day, before the police moved in:

XR Peace Blockades BAE Systems London

Making links between UK Arms sales to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, Nuclear Weapons and the Climate Emergency

Update: All 6 were released around 4.30am and are under investigation for Aggravated Trespass. In response the six asked for BAE to be investigated for being complicit in war crimes.

Six Extinction Rebellion rebels belonging to the XR Peace affinity group were arrested this morning after blockading the entrance to BAE Systems central London offices in protest against UK nuclear weapons, the sale of fighter jets and other arms to Turkey and to Saudi Arabia – making the links between the arms trade and the climate emergency.

The six are arrested under Section 69 of the Criminal Justice Act, and for aggravated trespass.

Dr. Diana Warner, 60, a GP from Bristol said: “I’m here with the XR peace group because war and weapons do not work for peace, they add to greenhouse gas emissions, suffering and death. British arms industries are fuelling war and can potentially drag us into conflicts we don’t want to join. My work is to promote health and this action is entirely consistent with that. I have now retired in order to take part full time with Extinction Rebellion with the aim being to prevent climate catastrophe and save lives.”

Sylvia Boyes, 75, a Quaker from Keighly said: “We are calling on the government to stop illegal arms sales to Saudi Arabia because the weapons are being used in clear violation of international humanitarian law in the war on Yemen. BAE Systems profits from death and destruction. The F-35 strike fighter jets that BAE is licensed by the UK to sell to both Saudi Arabia and Turkey produce 100 times the greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger jet, while these same jets are being used Saudi Arabia to intentionally target civilians in the war in Yemen.”

Another rebel, Peter Wickenden (75), of Kentish Town, said: “BAE Systems is profiting from death and contributing to the climate emergency worldwide. The government must stop licensing arms sales to countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia who are likely to use them in violation of international humanitarian law, and it must act now to address the climate emergency.”

Willemien Hoogendoorn, (56) of Faslane Peace Camp, Helensburgh, Scotland said: “BAE Systems are contracted to build the new Trident replacement submarines. They signed a deal to provide support to Turkey for stealth jet fighters in 2017. And they have a long term contract to provide fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. This week we’ve seen Turkey bombing civilians in Syria, while the Saudis have been relentlessly attacking civilians with BAE fighter jets since 2015 in a war that is causing the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe.”

Brian Larkin (59), from Howgate in Scotland said: “Nuclear weapons are the twin existential threat to climate change. If 100 nuclear weapons were used they would cause a global famine leading to the death of 2 billion people. The government should use the resources currently going to Trident to address the climate crisis and sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty.”

Jane Tallents (61), of Howgate in Scotland said: “Climate change causes war and war causes climate change. About 6% of global carbon emissions are from military activity. As the climate crisis gains pace there will be increasing tension. If countries continue to resort to war as a means of solving conflict we will not be able to avert climate crisis. All people of the earth face the twin existential threats of nuclear weapons and the climate emergency. To avert catastrophe we must find new ways of thinking and work together to save our shared home.”

Posted by Brian Larkin on Monday, 14 October 2019

XR Peace Friday Update

XRPeace have been a continuing significant presence as part of the October Extinction Rebellion here in London, carrying the message that militarism is a central pillar of the exploitative forces that are destroying our precious earth.

Today we finally set up our gazebo tent and will be spending the night here!

On Monday about 75 of us occupied the Embankment outside the MOD from 6am until 11am with two people locked on to a car and three locked on to a mock Trident missile and others simply sitting in the road. The early start meant that our actions featured prominently in national media coverage of the start of the rebellion. Check out some XR Peace press coverage on this website. Twenty four people were arrested on our site.

On Tuesday four XR Peace did a Die-in with fake blood partially blocking the back entrance to the MOD and although staying 5 hours left without being arrested. Angie Zelter and a polar bear from the Knighton and Presteign group were arrested in Whitehall as the police tried to clear it. Angie was held over two nights and appeared in Westminster Magistrate Court and pleaded Guilty to a charge of Obstruction of the Highway in order to be out again on the streets.

On Thursday three XR Peace grandparents and a 93 year old great grandfather locked and glued on across the road at Trafalgar Square for 5 hours helping to keep the road around the Square blocked after a wooden box tower was cleared by the police. They unlocked to rest and regroup for continuing action. With police clearing several mass blockades around the city, it feels right for our actions now to be supporting the wider rebellion. There have been over 1000 arrests so far.

Reinforcements needed: We are planning further XR Peace actions for the early part of the coming week. Can you join us? We need both arrestable and non-arrestable people. We can provide accommodation.

Facebook: XR Peace blockade at October Rebellion

Twitter: @xrpeace and #xrpreace

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