Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel branded Extinction Rebellion protesters as ‘so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals’ today as she vowed to crack down on their ‘guerrilla tactics’.
Speaking to the Police Superintendents’ Association annual conference, the Home Secretary said she would not allow the group to cause ‘anarchy’.
The strong words come after XR’s printing press blockade which left some newsagents’ shelves empty on Saturday morning.
Addressing the conference, held digitally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Patel said:
Now it is said that where there is no law there is no freedom, and that law and order is the cornerstone of our free society.
‘And without it we have nothing. But events of the last week have exposed another emerging threat – the so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals.
‘Attempting to thwart the media’s right to publish without fear nor favour. And a shameful attack on our way of life, our economy, and the livelihoods of the hardworking majority.
‘I refuse point plank to allow that kind of anarchy on our streets.
‘And I’m right behind you as you bring the full might of the law down upon that selfish minority.
‘The very criminals who disrupt our free society must be stopped.
‘And together we must all stand firm against the guerrilla tactics of Extinction Rebellion.
‘And that means adapting to the threat that they pose and ensuring that justice is served.’
Ms Patel said ‘attacking people’s jobs and livelihoods’ is not ‘peaceful protest’.
‘These are not peaceful tactics. These are tactics that are deployed to cause maximum damage to society, blocking of roads for example.
‘Last week we saw ambulances and blue lights not even being able to get through to hospitals basically, you know threatening people’s lives in addition to the economic wellbeing of our society at a time when actually we’re trying to get society up and running all over again.’
Ms Patel’s comments come after the Government said powers to help police deal with disruptive protests are ‘under constant review’.