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  1. ITV Report

Police under fire over ban on extinction rebellion gatherings in London

Police are facing growing criticism over a London-wide ban on Extinction Rebellion protests.

Lawyers questioned the legality of the ban, made under public order legislation already used to restrict the action to Trafalgar Square, while a number of politicians expressed outrage over the move.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who oversees the Met Police, said he would ask for more information over why the ban had been put in place.

I am seeking further information from senior officers about the operational decision to impose a Section 14 order on the Extinction Rebellion Autumn Uprising - including at Trafalgar Square - and why this was necessary.

I believe the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld. However, illegal action by some protesters over the past eight days has put undue pressure on already overstretched police officers, and demonstrators should bear this in mind when considering any further actions.

– Sadiq Khan, London Mayor

Shadow Home Secretary and Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott said:

This ban is completely contrary to Britain's long-held traditions of policing by consent, freedom of speech, and the right to protest.

– Diane Abbott, Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP

Green Party MEP Ellie Chowns, who was arrested in Trafalgar Square; Green MP Caroline Lucas and shadow policing and crime minister Louise Haigh also spoke out against the move.

This is a grotesque overreaction and extremely worrying attack on basic civil liberties.

– Louise Haigh, Shadow Policing and Crime Minister

Police moved in to clear Trafalgar Square on Monday evening, telling protesters to leave the site by 9pm or risk arrest.

On Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the protest ban was brought in after "continued breaches" of the condition limiting the demonstration to Trafalgar Square.

This was an operational policing decision to help us get London moving again.

After nine days of disruption we felt it is entirely proportionate and reasonable to impose this condition because of the cumulative impact of these protests.

A significant policing operation continues and we will take robust action against anyone engaged in unlawful protests at locations targeted by Extinction Rebellion.

– Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, Met Police