Just Stop Oil protesters disrupt meetings over coronavirus arrests British News
A meeting between senior police officials and MPs over coronation arrests was interrupted by a group of Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists who emerged to disrupt proceedings.
MP Tim Loughton was questioning Matt Twist, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, about Operation Golden Orb when an activist was heard interrupting proceedings.
JSO said Dr. Kush Naker, 33, an infectious disease doctor from London, began reading a prepared statement that said, “We, as supporters of Just Stop Oil, are here today because our democracy is in jeopardy,” before the group violently did so was forced REMOVED.
As the live broadcast was quickly cut short, Mr Loughton said: “To be clear, it was Just Stop Oil protesters who tried with our witnesses today to undermine the activities of this committee.”
Before the break, Mr Twist had denied that the force exerted political pressure by cracking down on protesters to protect “the looks” of the coronation.
The force has faced fierce criticism over arrests made in connection with the event, including volunteers handing out rape alerts and six members of campaign group Republic, who had worked with police for weeks before the coronation to organize their own protest.
A complaint was also made by 36-year-old Royal fan Alice Chambers, who was held in custody for 13 hours after being mistaken for a Just Stop Oil protester as she waited at the mall to have a look to catch the king.
An anonymous senior police source quoted by the i newspaper said there had been “a very strong directive not to damage the UK’s reputation”, although the Home Office said it had not recognized the allegation.
The five protesters who attended the committee on Wednesday were among a group of 19 activists arrested on May 6, the day of the coronation.
A JSO spokesman said: “This is a continuation of the suppression of legitimate dissent that we saw at the coronation.”
“The Metropolitan Police arrested doctors, lecturers, students and electricians for no reason simply because they had flags and T-shirts.”
“This is clearly politically motivated and represents massive police abuse.”
“No evidence was presented and now those unlawfully arrested are prevented from testifying before the committee set up to assess policing during the coronation ceremony.”
The six members of the republic were the first to be arrested under the sweeping public order law enacted days before the coronation.
They were held on suspicion that they were equipped to “lock-on” – a measure used by protesters to make it difficult for police to move them – but were later released without charge.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has defended police action in a letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, saying: “Had our officers not acted reasonably, based on the evidence they have at the moment and the potential risk for the incident?” “There are now much more serious questions to be answered about the event.”
Mr Twist said there could be a “narrow line” between legitimate protest and a demonstration “sloping into illegal activity”.
“We are constantly balancing the rights of those who want to protest with those who are affected,” he told the committee.
“And what we’ve seen lately is that there’s kind of a fine line between what peaceful protest is and what’s drifting into illegal activity, as we saw late last year and early this year, and the Shift these scales take place.
“Where crime is being committed, we have to intervene much more quickly.”
When told the Republic hadn’t used lock-on tactics in the past, he said officials at the scene were unaware the straps were being used to secure posters.
Mr Twist said: “Officials have to make a difficult judgment at this time and in this moment, based on what they are facing and based on the information they have.”
Republican Prime Minister Graham Smith said he was prevented from phoning a police liaison officer when he was arrested.
He told the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: “I named the superintendent who we had met in person.” I called the liaison officer and tried to phone them and he (the officer who made the arrest) stopped me twice by saying grabbed my wrist, among other things, and took the phone out of my hand.”
Mr Smith also questioned the definition of devices that could be used for lock-on.
“I showed up today with five blocking devices. My tie, my watch, my belt and two shoelaces.
“Someone could have called the Met and said, ‘Well, he’s going to tie himself to the chair when he’s in the middle of the committee,’ and should I spend 16 hours in custody because of this so-called intelligence and so-called suspension?” on devices?’
He added, “We gave them all the information we could.”
“It’s possible a few tiny little things slipped through and weren’t communicated, but they made it very clear to us that they had no qualms about the things we had told them we were going to do.”
He added, “We never intended to do anything that would even come close to breaking the law.” And claims that they were intelligent can’t possibly be true. Either they are dishonest or they are making a very serious mistake.
“Because you have no intelligence on the Republic, because there hasn’t been a single email, text message, conversation, cursory remark, or anything else to suggest we had any intention of doing anything unlawful or disruptive. “
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