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UK News

8 Christians arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests, including 3 clergy

by Cara Bentley

Three members of the clergy and five other members of the Christian wing of Extinction Rebellion have been arrested this week at climate change protests. 

Extinction Rebellion protested all week in cities across the country, blocking roads, marching and protesting in squares. 

Rev Sue Parfitt, 77, from Christian Climate Action (CCA) was one of those arrested. She said: "I am breaking the law in order to get the government to keep the law. At the moment it is in breach of its legal obligations under the Paris Agreement. I also do this because I am first of all committed to keeping God's law which is to do all I can to protect his creation."

On Thursday, protesting cyclists travelled together around London. When they crossed Lambeth Bridge, both ends of the bridge were closed off by lines of police. Most requested to leave but were refused exit by police. The police then arrested all individuals on the bridge. 

Paul Kunert, a father of three from Kent, was one of the people kettled by police on the bridge and arrested: "I've only become involved in these protests because I can't see any other way to get these issues on the governments agenda. This was a peaceful protest. They closed off both ends of the bridge. We weren't warned and we weren't allowed to leave."

Holly-Anna Petersen, a mental health worker and CCA member, cycled to the Bromley police station and spent the night waiting outside for those arrested to be released. She said: "It's really unfair what the police have done. This happened at the last rebellion - police actions were shown to be unlawful, and so after a gruelling process, many charges against protestors were dropped. It seems like this is the same thing happening again. It is intimidation to stop people from using their lawful right to peaceful protest. 

"We know that intimidating people doesn't work out well - yes, it may silence some, but others will just get more frustrated and turn to more extreme measures to channel their desperation. We don't want people getting violent."

More than 600 protesters from Extinction Rebellion were arrested over the course of the week according to police.Some newsagents’ shelves were left empty on Saturday morning after Extinction Rebellion protesters targeted Newsprinters printing works, blocking the day’s papers from leaving the depots.

Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to take a "fresh look" at how the group is classified under law after a stunt Boris Johnson deemed "completely unacceptable".

Labour former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said direct action is a “legal tactic” and added it would be “ridiculous” for the Government to reclassify Extinction Rebellion.

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