By Billy Stockwell, Climate Correspondent
Student activists from Extinction Rebellion Youth (XRY) have ‘handed themselves in’ at Bridewell police station in Bristol today.
Around fifteen activists turned up at the station to ‘declare their criminality’, in response to comments made by Home Secretary Priti Patel last month.
The Home Secretary claimed that XR activists are ‘so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals’ who pose an ‘emerging threat’ to the UK’s way of life.
The government also considered classing Extinction Rebellion as an ‘organised crime group’.
Extinction Rebellion Youth Bristol, the under-30s group co-ordinating this action, came into the spotlight in August this year when two members ‘locked on’ at Clifton Suspension Bridge, resulting in its official closure for four days by Avon & Somerset Police.
Speaking to Epigram before the protest, University of Bristol physics student Poppy Silk said today's action was to ‘stand in solidarity with other protest groups’ by highlighting how the police uphold an ‘unjust system’.
‘The police are stopping people’s rights to peacefully protest, which affects everyone, not just XR.’
Another #ExtinctionRebellion ‘criminal’ threatens the UK’s way of life. @metpoliceuk MUST STOP THIS ANARCHY.— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) September 9, 2020
Thank big hidey fridges for @pritipatel being all over this “emerging threat”. pic.twitter.com/ig970EU8SL
Another University of Bristol student, Charlie, said: ‘Avon and Somerset Police claim to ‘Serve. Protect. Respect’ but neglect to mention that this doesn't apply to everyone.
‘We want to bring attention to the injustices of the system, of which the police play a vital part, shown by the over-policing of XR protests and BLM protests to an even greater extent.’
Speaking out on the comments made by the Home Secretary, college student Eddie said that it is ‘not true’ that XR activists are organised criminals, but rather ‘scared young people who are crying out in desperation for [their] future’.
‘I care about my future, and for the future of our children, and for that I am labelled as a criminal.’
Protestors were advised to wear masks and social distance from others during the action.
Featured Image: Epigram / Billy Stockwell
Do you agree with the action taken today by Extinction Rebellion Youth Bristol?