During the rush hour at Canning Town and Shadwell, Stratford, eight protestors climbed on top of a train to bring awareness to the growing issue of climate change. Extinction Rebellion commented later that it would “take stock” of the reaction of the public to this turn of events.
A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion, Howard Rees, said:
“Was it the right thing to do? I am not sure. I think we will have a period of reflection. It is too early to say”.
However, they have said in the past that this sort of unrest is “necessary to highlight the emergency”.
According to an eyewitness at the scene, Hayden Green, a protestor was “dragged to the floor and kicked repeatedly”. He also said:
“Police have struggled to deal with the protests in London, so the public stepped in and in the heat of the moment it was taken too far. I support their cause, but I think how the protests have been carried out has led to more divisions”.
The reaction from the commuters was that of anger and frustration. A protestor was dragged from the roof where he was kicked on the ground repeatedly.
The commuters also hurled abuse at them. Another protestor was chased through one of the carriages before being dragged onto the station. A protestor who filmed the altercation for the movement’s social media accounts claimed that he was “kicked in the head”.
The British Transport Police are investigating the incident but said that it was “concerning to see that a number of commuters took matters into their own hands displayed violent behavior to detain a protestor”. The Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan stated that:
“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 the evening peak. We continue to have extra officers on patrol and will work to disrupt any potential criminal actions before it happens.”
According to the analysis by Justin Rowlatt, the BBC’s Chief Environmental Correspondent, it was a confusing situation that left people asking why a group that wants greener methods of transport would target a tube, one of the cleanest methods of transport.
The confusion was not limited to commuters either. Members of Extinction Rebellion have questioned this course of action due to the public backlash and the strategy to target an environmentally friendly form of transport.
A recent poll taken among the movement’s members has shown that out of 3800 people, 72% were against any protest that involved the London Underground, and a further 14% said they were against it if it meant that people’s lives would be put in danger.
Image: The Sun