Furious London commuters dragged Extinction Rebellion protestors down from the top of a Tube train after demonstrators tried to cause travel chaos this morning.
A video shows a bearded middle-aged 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 protestor and then a group give one man a boost so he can reach the protestor’s ankle and drag him off the carriage to the platform.
Once he hits the ground a baying mob surrounds him and commuters are caught on camera seemingly kicking and attacking the man, before a London Underground employee steps in.
British Transport Police have so far made at least four arrests, at Canning Town and at Stratford. At Shadwell protestors glued themselves to an electric DLR train.
The protestors’ antics at Underground stations are part of a resurgence from the eco-activist group, which says today its members will target both the tube network and Gatwick airport.
A number of senior XR figures have sought to distance themselves from this morning’s hugely unpopular tube protest, with spokesperson Fergal McEntree telling LBC radio the action was ‘a huge own goal’.
Before 7am protestors 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.
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 protestor climbing on top of their train
A protestor is dragged off the roof of a DLR train at Canning Town by a crowd of furious east London commuters
Once the protestor 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
She said that one of the commuters shouted: ‘Look I’m just trying to get to work and feed my kids.’
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 protestor 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 protestor, said he had glued himself to a train for the sake of his grandchildren. Today’s will be his 13th arrest this year.
Extinction Rebellion targeted three east London stations
In addition to Canning Town Extinction Rebellion activists are protesting at a number of east London stations.
The British Transport Police said in a statement: ‘Shortly after 7am this morning British Transport Police were called to simultaneous action by Extinction Rebellion at Stratford, Canning Town and Shadwell.
‘Protesters had dangerously obstructed Jubilee Line and DLR services by either climbing on top of services or by gluing themselves to the trains.
‘Four arrests have been made in connection to the Stratford and Canning Town incidents, with those detained being taken to police custody.
‘Specialist Protest Removal Teams remain at Shadwell station, and are working to resume services as soon as possible.
‘We continue to urge protesters to not target the London Underground network. This is dangerous, not only for protesters but for commuters.
‘We have increased our patrols on the London Underground and at other rail hubs throughout London.’
Former detective David Videcette shared this tweet from the chaos showing XR activist Robin Boardman in the melee
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 protestors in frustration, asking why they had glued themselves to an electric train.
‘Stroppy teenager’ who stormed out of TV interview and was revealed to be a fan of jet travel was among XR Tube protestors today
Extinction Rebellion stalwart Robin Boardman, 21, was spotted among protestors this morning.
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.’
Boardman stormed out on Adam Boulton
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.
The former Bristol University student, who went to a £17,500 a year private school, has also been involved in protests against the expansion of Heathrow – despite enjoying numerous holidays abroad.
He has protested at Heathrow despite enjoying numerous foreign holidays
According to blogger Guido Fawkes Mr Boardman-Pattison is a leading member of Vote No Heathrow and was part of a group that vandalised the Conservative Party HQ last summer.
Boardman, is also seen on his Instagram enjoying holidays to Italy and skiing.
On Twitter one commuter pointed out the diruption had caused them to switch from the tube to a relatively more polluting car this morning.
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.’
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 protestors, 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.
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.’
At Shadwell DLR station this morning XR protestors scrambled on top of a train causing travel chaos for commuters
This morning at Canning Town station in east London, XR protestors got on top of the public transport system
Hanging up a large sign which said ‘Business as usual = Death’ in front of weary commuters an XR protestors tried to speak
Grandfather-of-four, 83, anticipating 13th arrest in an XR protest
This morning cimate activist Phil Kingston, an 83-year-old repeat protestor, 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’
Mr Kingston joked with LBC radio that he had been ‘just going to get a plane’ before he was dragged outside.
He added: ‘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.
Mr Kingston is dragged away from London City Airport this morning as the demonstrations continue
Asked why he was at thar protest, Mr Kingston said: ‘My grandchildren and all of their generation.
‘I’m mostly here for the poorest peoples, who have done the least to cause climate breakdown and are suffering the most.
‘[They] are predicted to suffer dreadfully in the coming years, as eventually we all will, unless we do the most enormous turnaround which I don’t even know if that’s possible now.
Police also arrested campaigner Mr Kingston earlier this month for a spray paint protest at the Treasury
Police arrest Mr Kingston outside the Treasury
‘But if it isn’t possible, then I am here to help us tell the truth and prepare for what we need to prepare together.
‘Lastly, I’m a Christian. This lovely creation is God’s creation, and for us to be destroying it, it’s is an affront.
Mr Kingston, a retired Bristol University social work lecturer who is now a regular at major XR protests, added: ‘The God of love has given us all this, and we are just misusing it hopelessly. So that’s why I’m here.’
Clare Farrell, for the group, told the Victoria Derbyshire progamme on the BBC the protestors 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 that5 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 protestors were ‘willing and ready’ to get arrested.
She said ‘We have been out on the streets for 11 days there has been no response from the government’ apart from the Section 14 ban.
The eco-activist group has now said its members will 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’.
The post read: ‘We’re going on a trip to Gatwick Airport! With a light-hearted, informative vibe, lets give a wake-up call (again) about the urgent need to reduce the number of flights, not expand airports.
‘We call on passengers and friends to join us in tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
‘They have the opportunity to contribute to safeguarding our future by limiting air travel to just essential journeys. Let’s make them welcome.
‘Come incognito and await the signal at 11am to reveal yourself!
‘Performers, musicians, clowns, singers, party hats welcome. We will be handing out leaflets encouraging people to play their part in what lies ahead.
‘If inclined, some people may like to indulge in a bit of mischief but the intention is not to cause people to miss flights. Fun and imagination welcome.
‘Though we can’t know what line the police or airport staff will take, so far as we know there is nothing in what we have outlined that would be against airport byelaws.’
In a statement Sussex Police said: ‘We have been made aware of a proposed protest at Gatwick Airport on Thursday.
‘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.
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.
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 protestors 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.
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.