Extinction Rebellion protest at Parliament Sq

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PA Media

Entering Parliament amid Extinction Rebellion protests was like “entering the Glastonbury Festival”, a Conservative MP has said.

Sir David Amess said it was “absolutely ridiculous” to allow the noise and disruption in Parliament Square.

A protest by the group, on the square opposite the Palace of Westminster, is in its second week.

The demonstrators are calling for the government to take action to prevent climate change.

Sir David raised the issue during business questions in the Commons on Thursday.

Right to protest

He asked the deputy chief whip, Stuart Andrew, standing in for Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, whether demonstrations on the square could be banned.

He said: “Returning here last Tuesday I thought I was entering the Glastonbury Festival which I thought had been cancelled. To allow the noise, the disruption, the cost of policing is absolutely ridiculous.

“So can we please restore these orders so we no longer have demonstrations on a busy roundabout sandwiched between Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster?”

Mr Andrew said that while “of course the right to protest is something we all want to protect,” MPs “need to be able to do our job here in Parliament.”

He added that he would pass Sir David’s question on to Mr Rees-Mogg.

Earlier this week, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that she refused to allow the “guerrilla tactics” and “anarchy” favoured by Extinction Rebellion.

Her comments came after protesters blockaded newspaper printing presses and a number of roads and bridges in Westminster.

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XR Glasgow

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Extinction Rebellion blocked the distribution of newspapers, including from this site in Motherwell.

On Wednesday, the new re-elected Green Party co-leader Sian Berry told the BBC she supported the group’s right to protest, saying: “Protest on the streets has an important role to play. It’s part of free speech, it’s part of making the case to the people who are powerful.”

Asked if the Green Party represents the political wing of Extinction Rebellion, she said that the party was the “political representatives of a much wider movement.”

She added: “You cannot separate social justice, racial justice, global justice from environmental and ecological justice. We are the people that can tie all that together into a political programme and take that to the people in power and really have our voices heard when they are making new policies.”

But her co-leader Jonathan Bartley said he did not always agree with Extinction Rebellion’s methods.

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