Extinction Rebellion CANCELS plan for Gatwick demo after furious East London commuters drag them off roof of Tube train and rough them up

  • This morning London commuters furiously dragged a protester from the top of a train at Canning Town 
  • Extinction Rebellion demonstrators massed at Canning Town, Shadwell and Stratford underground stations
  • Eight protesters have been arrested this morning bringing the total since last Monday to 1,711 arrests
  • XR's efforts to disrupt public transport were met with a furious backlash from commuters and politicians
  • An XR spokesman admitted it had been a 'huge own goal' and organisers cancelled a planned Gatwick protest
  • On Monday evening the Metropolitan Police issued a Section 14 order which was designed to end disruption
  • *Can you identify protesters or the commuter who hauled them from the train’? Email tips@dailymail.com*

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Extinction Rebellion's reign of mayhem in London finally hit the rocks today when commuters took matters into their own hands and pulled activists from a tube train - prompting the group to cancel its planned Gatwick 'shutdown'.  

As their eco-protest enters its 11th day XR activists launched a co-ordinated strike on three London Underground stations, clambering on top of carriages and glueing themselves to doors despite Monday's city-wide ban issued by the Met Police.

But their efforts to disrupt public transport were met with a furious backlash from commuters, industry groups and politicians leading one XR spokesman to admit the move had been a 'huge own goal'.

A hastily-deleted tweet comparing themselves to icon of the nonviolent black civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, was also met with opprobrium from social media users.

Video surfaced from Canning Town station of a protester seemingly being beaten and kicked by angry workers on the station platform having been dragged bodily from the top of a train.

Eight protester arrests this morning brings the total since last Monday to 1,711 as police warn XR's antics are pulling officers from community policing and stretching resources to breaking point.

The group's leaders have called off a planned protest at Gatwick airport 'in light of' the response to the Tube disruption and a spokesman said the group would 'take stock' before disrupting the Underground any further. 

In a statement Extinction Rebellion acknowledged one of their own protesters had turned violent this morning.      

Susanna Reid tweeted
James O'Brien tweeted

In a statement XR said it was 'regretful that there was violence' and 'expressed sadness' that 'events escalated this way'.

XR said: 'We are aware that one of our activists responded in self defence in a moment of panic when confronted by a threatening situation. He acknowledges his accountability for this action and we offer gratitude for members of the public who helped to protect him.'

In addition to a furious backlash from commuters on the ground the move by XR to target the Underground prompted criticism on Twitter even from longstanding allies

In addition to a furious backlash from commuters on the ground the move by XR to target the Underground prompted criticism on Twitter even from longstanding allies

The group went on: 'The people involved today did not take this action lightly. They were a grandfather, an ex-buddhist teacher, a vicar and a former GP among others who acted out of rational fear for the future as this crisis deepens.'

Four people were arrested at Canning Town and Stratford and a further four were arrested at Shadwell where protesters (including 83-year-old Phil Kingston, arrested today for the 13th time this year) had glued themselves to an electric DLR train. 

This morning several videos surfaced of ugly scenes at Canning Town station, showing a bearded man walking on top of the train as a crush of commuters jeer at him to get down. 

One throws a cup of coffee over the protester and a group then give another commuter a boost so he can reach the protester's ankle and drag him off the carriage to the platform.

Mark Ovland on the Tube train
Buddhist trainee teacher Mark Ovland was among those arrested at Caning Town today for scrambling atop a tube

Buddhist trainee teacher Mark Ovland (left in left picture, and right) was among those arrested at Caning Town today for scrambling atop a tube

Once he hits the ground, the video shows, an angry group of commuters surround him and some were caught on camera seemingly kicking and attacking the man, before a London Underground employee steps in. 

Before 7am protesters arrived en masse at the east London station this morning and unfurled a banner reading 'business as usual = death'. At least two scaled a train as it watied to depart sparking violent fury from commuters. 

One of the activists was identified as Mark Ovland by The Telegraph. Ovland has already been arrested and released "several times" this week. 

The 36-year-old was chased along a train roof before being pulled down onto the platform. He describes himself as a full-time Extinction Rebellion protestor who gave up his Buddhist studies to devote himself to climate change action.

Mahatir Pasha, who filmed the video at Canning Town, told GMB: 'When I was there it was absolutely shocking scenes. I didn't expect to see anything like it.

'We heard a big thud on top of the train. The driver made a short announcement. One like I've never heard before: 'Hey what are you doing', and the line cut off.

'I saw two men standing on the train. They pulled out a banner. They said something along the lines of 'We're all going to die'.

She said the police arrived quickly once things 'got violent' and said a TFL member of staff 'did his absolute utmost' to protect commuters.

This morning commuters at Canning Town station reacted furiously to an XR protester climbing on top of their train
He was dragged off the roof of the carriage after commuters boosted one of their number so he could reach the man's foot

This morning commuters at Canning Town station reacted furiously to an XR protester climbing on top of their train

A protester is dragged off the roof of a DLR train at Canning Town by a crowd of furious east London commuters

A protester is dragged off the roof of a DLR train at Canning Town by a crowd of furious east London commuters

She said that one of the commuters shouted: 'Look I'm just trying to get to work and feed my kids.'

Grandfather-of-four, 83, anticipating 13th arrest in an XR protest

This morning cimate activist Phil Kingston, an 83-year-old repeat protester, said he had glued himself to a train at Shadwell for the sake of his grandchildren. 

When police process his arrest today it will mark his 13th arrest on behalf of XR.

Earlier this month he was arrested three times in a week and said the third was actually his ninth arrest in the last year.

The retired probation officer, from Bristol, said before his arrest on October 10 he was joining the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest at London City Airport for his four grandchildren and 'all of their generation'.

Phil Kingston said today he is taking part in the protest at City Airport for his four grandchildren and 'all of their generation'

Phil Kingston said today he is taking part in the protest at City Airport for his four grandchildren and 'all of their generation'

Mr Kingston joked earlier this month that he had been 'just going to get a plane' before he was dragged outside. I'm very happy to be here.'

It comes after Mr Kingston was arrested on Monday October 7 for spraying the words 'Life not death for my grandchildren' on the walls of the Treasury in Westminster, and the previous Thursday for spraying fake blood on the same building.

Ms Pasha went on: 'A lot of commuters would have been working class trying to make their daily bread. I find it ironic they are coming from middle class educated backgrounds.' 

One female protester who glued herself to a train at Shadwell DLR station said she took the action in east London because the trains were 'heading for the City which is the God of our time'.

She said the world was 'crucifying itself' for economic growth. 

Cimate activist Phil Kingston, an 83-year-old repeat protester, said he had glued himself to a train for the sake of his grandchildren. Today's will be his 13th arrest this year.

In addition to Canning Town Extinction Rebellion activists protested at a number of east London stations. British Transport Police confirmed it arrested eight people.

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O'Callaghan said: 'Despite our countless warnings, we are frustrated that Extinction Rebellion put people at risk to obstruct services on London's rail network.

'Those who obstructed services are in custody and will be dealt with robustly.

'This type of action is completely at odds with what Extinction Rebellion are campaigning for and we will continue to urge them to not target any rail network.'

Each person detained was arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway. 

They have each been taken to police custody as enquiries continue.

ACC O'Callaghan added: 'However, it was also concerning to see that a number of commuters took matters into their own hands, displaying violent behaviour to detain a protester at Canning Town.

'Understandably, the delay to passengers' journeys would have been annoying, but this level of response was unacceptable. We are now investigating this morning's events at Canning Town in its entirety.

Court challenge to protest ban is put back 

A legal challenge to a police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in central London was put back today until next week.

The group's lawyers claim the law, Section 14 of the Public Order Act, can't be used as a blanket ban on groups meeting up all over the city.

But police say Extinction Rebellion's actions are all part of one assembly and this is born out by the group's claims.  

Edward Thomas, speaking for the Met, referred to a social media post by the group which said: "Be water" - encouraging them to travel in groups of two and move around. 

Despite attempts to have the case heard before the end of the planned action, Judge James Dingemans decided to hold off until next Thursday.

He said: 'I'm afraid I'm wholly unconvinced that this is a case where it would be right to speed up the process.

'These are important points both for the complainant and the defendant with the construction of a criminal statute.'

He said that rushing a decision was too big a risk to justice 'to allow some nine hours of extra protest'.  

ACC O'Callaghan added: 'It is important that commuters and other rail users allow the police, who are specially trained, to manage these incidents.

'Unfortunately, there is still a risk that Extinction Rebellion will target the rail network during this evenings peak. We will continue to have extra officers on patrol and will work to disrupt any potential criminal action before it happens.'

The local MP reacted angrily to travel disruption. Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, asked: 'So what point is Extinction Rebellion making shutting down east London's public transport system, preventing ordinary people from getting to work, school, hospital?'

Commuters at Shadwell were seen shouting at protesters in frustration, asking why they had glued themselves to an electric train.

Downing Street has heavily criticised Extinction Rebellion protesters for causing 'unnecessary disruption' to London public transport services.

'What we saw this morning didn't have anything to do with peaceful protest,' said the Prime Minister's spokeswoman.

'Those actions this morning caused unnecessary disruption to people trying to go about their business using public transport.

'It was rightly met with a swift and robust response from police and I think it is worth pointing out that those involved have also been criticised by their own supporters.'

Once the protester hit the platform amid the crush of bodies several men look seme to be caught on camera punching and kicking in the man's direction. Several pairs of hands are thrown into the air in applause further down the platform

Once the protester hit the platform amid the crush of bodies several men look seme to be caught on camera punching and kicking in the man's direction. Several pairs of hands are thrown into the air in applause further down the platform

On Twitter commuters pointed out the disruption had caused them to switch from the tube to a relatively more polluting car this morning. 

Commuters took to Twitter to point out the consequences of the group's actions

Commuters took to Twitter to point out the consequences of the group's actions

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Clare Farrell defended the Tube action and said: 'The public, I don't think, realise quite how serious this situation is.'

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she added: 'It is still peaceful, and it is still non-violent. 

'People did a similar action in April on the DLR train, those people were safe.

'It makes them vulnerable, and that's what people are there to do when they put their body on the line.

'There is a vast vulnerability that people have in the face of climate and ecological emergency.' 

Spokesperson Valerie Milner-Brown said: 'This is disruption with a purpose since we will all encounter far greater disruption in the future if we don't radically change our society. 

'We can already see the horrifying early effects of the climate and ecological emergency in parts of the Global South and it's clear that this will be coming our way soon.

'Government needs to start taking seriously the deep concerns of tens of thousands of experts and scientists globally, so that we can create a society that is built to put resilience and community before profit.'

XR video journalist 'left with cuts and bruises' after being 'beaten up' at Canning Town

A cameraman has said a 'mob mentality' took hold at Canning Town this morning as he filmed fellow XR protesters.

Elliot Laughlin said he was left with cuts and bruises after he was 'beaten up' by a crowd of '20 people'.

He told the Mirror: 'The activists climbed on top of the train and the London mob mentality went crazy.

Cameraman Elliot Laughlin said he would not be doing any more train protests

Cameraman Elliot Laughlin said he would not be doing any more train protests

'They turned on me, they threw me from the chair that I was stood on and you can see 14 minutes into the video I just posted, someone comes at me, they throw me down on the ground.'.

He went on: 'In that moment, you don't feel the pain, my dad told me once that if you're even being beaten up by people, you just get in the foetal position, you grab your stuff.'

He said his phone was damaged but 'not too badly' in the melee.

He said he did not 'wholeheartedly' support the protesters who clambered on trains at Stratford, Canning Town and Shadwell.

He said: 'I'd had nothing to do with planning the action, I was approached and asked to film. I said okay, I'll come along.

'At times, I wasn't agreeing with the action, I thought it was not ideal.

'I personally will never do another train action, I'm going to be targeting polluting industries.' 

XR spokesman Howard Rees, 39, said: 'Was it the right thing to do? I am not sure. I think we will have to have a period of reflection. It is too early to say. I think we need to take stock of it.'

Mr Rees, a PR worker from London, said the intention was not to 'inconvenience hard-working people', and said he did not think the apparently unsympathetic mood on the platform was indicative of a decrease in public support  -despite many posts on the XR London Facebook page expressing concerns that the stunt was counterproductive and should not have gone ahead.

He said: 'It is not our intention to target individuals or inconvenience hard-working people. We're in a life or death situation right now. The only thing the Government is interested in is money, so that's why the transport system was targeted.

'If you're causing disruption but people are impacted, it is nothing compared with the disruption that is coming down the line, let me tell you.'

He said the footage from Canning Town was 'really horrifying' and had left him 'deeply distressed'.

A poll on the Extinction Rebellion Telegram chat showed 86 per cent of members were against action targeting the London Underground.

Just four per cent approved of the action, while seven per cent approved if they could be sure trains wouldn't get blocked underground.

Extinction Rebellion London Group on Facebook has seen some members disagreeing over protest action taken at Canning Town and Shadwell stations on Thursday morning.

One member of the group said: 'I mean this with every respect to those involved but I can't see how the action taken this morning has caused anything other than violence and enemies... Disruption not destruction.'

Robin Boardman, 21, a spokesperson for the group said: 'We have known since at least the 1980's that we need to change our ways or risk a climate and ecological disaster but still our Government is intent upon making matters worse. 

'It pains me to read the reports that they knew this would happen before I was even born.

'If this is what it takes to make them take notice before it is too late, then this is what we must do. 

'None of us want to inconvenience ordinary people. 

'That's why we're doing this in the morning when it will impact business as usual, and not in the evening, when people want to get home to be with their loved ones.'

Mr Boardman, who was spotted among this morning's protesters, stormed out of a TV interview earlier this year when asked to defend the actions of his group. His penchant for internatonal jet travel later came to light.  

'Stroppy teenager' who stormed out of TV interview and was revealed to be a fan of jet travel was among XR Tube protesters today

Extinction Rebellion stalwart Robin Boardman, 21, was spotted among protesters this morning.

Former detective David Videcette shared this tweet from the chaos showing XR activist Robin Boardman in the melee

Former detective David Videcette shared this tweet from the chaos showing XR activist Robin Boardman in the melee

Boardman, 21, said in a statement: 'None of us want to inconvenience ordinary people. 

'That's why we're doing this in the morning when it will impact business as usual, and not in the evening, when people want to get home to be with their loved ones.'

Mr Boardman, 21, was branded a 'stroppy teenager' when he stomped off Sky News earlier this year as he was being quizzed about the Extinction Rebellion protests. 

He has protested at Heathrow despite enjoying numerous foreign holidays

He has protested at Heathrow despite enjoying numerous foreign holidays

The former Bristol University student, who went to a £17,500 a year private school, documents his numerous foreign travels and skiiing trips on his Instagram page.

However activist Adam Allnut said: 'The vast majority of XR opposed this action beforehand and made it clear we disagreed with it, but in a self organising structure - as long as you go with the behaviours and principles - you can take disruptive non-violent direct action in XRs name. 'It's a shame it's gone ahead'

Spokesperson Fergal McEntree told LBC radio the action was 'a huge own goal'. 

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who until now has cautiously backed XR' and their right to protest, said in a statement: 'I strongly condemn the Extinction Rebellion protesters who have targeted the London Underground and DLR this morning.

'This illegal action is extremely dangerous, counterproductive and is causing unacceptable disruption to Londoners who use public transport to get to work.

'It is also an unfair burden on our already overstretched police officers. I urge demonstrators to protest peacefully and within the boundaries of the law.'

A spokesman for the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said: 'RMT condemns any activity that compromises staff and passenger safety on London Underground.

'It is RMT members who have been caught in the middle of these grossly irresponsible actions.

'We call on Extinction Rebellion to call off their protests targeting the Tube network, which are putting RMT members in a dangerous and violent situation.'

Clare Farrell, for the group, told the Victoria Derbyshire progamme on the BBC the protesters had put themselves in harm's way saying: 'People are doing this out of desperation.

'People have done these actions with absolute attention to making sure the public are safe.' 

She added: 'What would you do if your chidren were in a burning building? You wouldn't be able to do it in a way that left people saying 'that's nice that's calm.'

She said the government had taken no action despite acknowledging the climate emergency.

'The tactics that we've chosen to use are peaceful nonviolent and disruptive', she added, and repeated protesters were 'willing and ready' to get arrested.  

A separate outpouring of outrage and fury greeted Extinction Rebellion's decision to compare their actions to those of civil rights leader osa Parks.

In a now-deleted tweet, the official Extinction Rebellion Twitter account wrote: 'Rosa Parks refused to move from the white section of the bus and our rebels refused to bequeath a dying planet to future generations by failing to ActNow.

'Our InternationalRebellion against the complicity of our governments in the climate and ecological emergency continues.'

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 in Montgomery Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger after boarding a segregated bus. 

Her brave move - which had been planned and scheduled in advance by civil rights leaders - sparked the Montgomery bus boycott which brought Martin Luther King to national prominence.

 

In respnse to the tweet one social media user replied: 'Sorry... are you equating a bunch of middle class white people intentionally disrupting public transport in predominantly poor, working class, ethnic areas to - checks notes - a woman who helped pioneer the civil rights movement so black people could be seen as human beings?'

Another said: 'Rosa Parks was part of a sophisticated network of black activists who built inclusive strategies for resistance to build *with* people, not against them, not speaking over them. Maybe learn from them? Your leaders are open about their choices + they *are* choices to be ignorant.'

Sadiq Khan turns on XR

Sadiq Khan, who until now has cautiously backed XR and their right to protest, turned on the group today.

In a statement the London Mayor said: 'I strongly condemn the Extinction Rebellion protesters who have targeted the London Underground and DLR this morning.

'This illegal action is extremely dangerous, counterproductive and is causing unacceptable disruption to Londoners who use public transport to get to work.

'It is also an unfair burden on our already overstretched police officers. I urge demonstrators to protest peacefully and within the boundaries of the law.'

Previously the Mayor has defended the group and following the Met's Section 14 order on Monday banning XR city-wide, he said he was 'seeking further information' about why the ban was necessary.

He added he believed 'the right to peaceful and lawful protest must always be upheld'. 

Another tweeted: 'Did they just compare themselves to Rosa Parks... Who had PLANNED this action and had a community behind her to support the boycott to limit the damage done to the most affected? Unlike XR? The caucasity.'

'Disruption as a form of protest: good. Targeting working class workers using a green form of transport: bad. Invoking Rosa Parks whilst ignoring critique of your very white and racist tactics and rhetoric: truly awful,' another said. 

The eco-activist group had said members would protest 'mischievously' at Gatwick airport from 11am, promising 'musicians, clowns and singers.' 

Posting on group messaging app, one member urged others to 'come incognito' and then 'reveal yourself' after a signal is given adding 'musicians, clowns and singers' would be welcome and that 'some people may like to indulge in a bit of mischief'.

But this morning on the group's Telegram channels organisers pulled the plug on the protest.

Organisers wrote: 'In light of this morning's events we have considered further and it's felt best to postpone.

'For people are are already on their way, we can meet by Costa and discuss, but please don't wear any XR branding.' 

In a statement Sussex Police said: 'We have been made aware of a proposed protest at Gatwick Airport on Thursday.

At Shadwell DLR station this morning XR protesters scrambled on top of a train causing travel chaos for commuters

At Shadwell DLR station this morning XR protesters scrambled on top of a train causing travel chaos for commuters

At Shadwell protesters climbed on top of trains and glued themselves to door to disrupt the Underground and DLR networks

At Shadwell protesters climbed on top of trains and glued themselves to door to disrupt the Underground and DLR networks

his morning cimate activist Phil Kingston, an 83-year-old repeat protester, said he had glued himself to a train at Shadwell for the sake of his grandchildren

his morning cimate activist Phil Kingston, an 83-year-old repeat protester, said he had glued himself to a train at Shadwell for the sake of his grandchildren

Commuters reacted with fury to the disruption and only four per cent of XR members polled condoned the Tube protest

Commuters reacted with fury to the disruption and only four per cent of XR members polled condoned the Tube protest

'We are working with Gatwick Airport Limited. High visibility patrols will be present to support the airport in facilitating a peaceful protest, minimise the disruption for passengers and staff, and ensure a safe and secure environment. 

'We will balance the rights of all involved and will respond proportionately should this become a policing matter. We have been in communication with the organisers.'

It comes after Extinction Rebellion activists yesterday flooded Trafalgar Square and breastfeeding mothers staged a sit-in outside Google's London HQ.

On the group thread this morning XR organisers pulled the plug on their plannjed Gatwick protest following the backlash

On the group thread this morning XR organisers pulled the plug on their plannjed Gatwick protest following the backlash

Hundreds of activists in Trafalgar Square put black tape over their mouths, to symbolise the silencing of their protests by police and to demand the right to freedom of expression.

Meanwhile in Kings Cross mothers insisted Google should ban those who deny or question climate change from posting videos on Youtube.

Do you know the protesters?

Do you know the protesters? 

Can you identify any of the people who climbed on trains or glued themselves to trains today? 

Email joel.adams@mailonline.co.uk or 0203 615 4959

The protests are in open defiance of the Metropolitan Police, who on Monday issued a Section 14 order prohibiting XR demonstrations anywhere in the capital and leaving any protesters at risk of arrest.

The group's legal bid to overturn the order is expected to reach the High Court on Thursday afternoon, and they argue that it is an 'unprecedented and disproportionate curtailment' of the right to free speech and free assembly.

Yesterday a senior Met officer insisted the ban on XR's 'Autumn Uprising' climate change protests issued on Monday is legal - despite a review having been requested by lawyers - and warned activists they face arrest.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is leading the policing of the demonstrations, said he is 'completely comfortable' with the action the force has taken.

A couple of dozen would-be protesters at Gatwick were spotted having a conflab over a cup of coffee in Costa as they considered their options

A couple of dozen would-be protesters at Gatwick were spotted having a conflab over a cup of coffee in Costa as they considered their options

Mr Taylor said: 'We are very confident that what we've done is entirely lawful, entirely proportionate in the circumstances, and we are completely comfortable with the position that we maintain.'

The force used section 14 of the Public Order Act initially to restrict the protest action to Trafalgar Square, but following 'continued breaches' of the order officers moved in to clear the area.

Any assembly of more than two people linked to the XR Autumn Uprising action is now illegal in London.

So far more than 1,642 protesters have been arrested, and 133 charged. 

XR's stated tactics are to overwhelm the capacity in police custody, including by refusing bail after being arrested. 

*** Do you know the protesters? Can you identify any of the people who climbed on trains or glued themselves to trains today? Email joel.adams@mailonline.co.uk or phone 0203 615 4959 *** 

Extinction Rebellion protesters dragged from Canning Town train roof

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