06:43, April 23 307 0 theguardian.com

2019-04-23 06:43:04
Extinction Rebellion: police warn of Parliament Square arrests

Police have warned Extinction Rebellion organisers that they face arrest if they incite protesters to block the roads around Parliament Square on Tuesday morning.

The Metropolitan police said it was imposing pre-emptive conditions restricting any demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday to the lawn in the centre of the square, after hearing that activists with the group planned to gather there.

Protesters must clear the area by midnight, police said, and may not gather in Old Palace Yard, a site the group has demanded as a permanent protest camp.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in the past week in a campaign of mass non-violent direct action orchestrated by the group to highlight how little time the world has left to halt manmade ecological breakdown.

Most have been arrested for breaching section 14 orders that restrict rights to protest in each location. But Wednesday’s order is the first to explicitly mention that organisers could be targeted for arrest.

A statement circulated to the media on Tuesday night said: “Any organiser or person taking part in the protest failing to comply with these conditions or inciting others not to comply with them will be committing an offence and will be liable to arrest.”

Over the bank holiday weekend it took a mass police operation to clear Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square of the small festivals of protest, which included stages, sound systems, workshops, wellbeing tents and free food.

Activists at each location had formed human barricades, securing themselves across roads and to key pieces of infrastructure using lock-on devices and superglue.

Also on Monday night, police seized a powerful sound system from activists at Marble Arch, which had been used to stage a performance by the dance music group Massive Attack on Easter Sunday.