Cambridgeshire leaders condemn Extinction Rebellion protests after protesters continue to wreak havoc
PUBLISHED: 14:39 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:39 21 February 2020
Leaders in Cambridgeshire have condemned the actions of Extinction Rebellion protesters after they continued to wreak havoc in the county.
Six people were been charged with criminal damage and one released under investigation as protesters were seen digging up the grass at Cambridge's Trinity College on Monday (February 17).
The incident comes after members of the climate change group halted a Cambridge City Council budget meeting last week.
Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, believes the protests were "in the wrong place and directed at the wrong people".
"I don't think it is right for anyone to say that the disruption caused has been minimal," he said.
"The level of disruptive actions by Extinction Rebellion and their behaviour will, I believe, put at risk public support for further positive actions on our part.
"In our budget for the coming year, we announced a further £16m fund to move further and faster with our carbon reduction plans.
"Our door remains open for anyone who wants to talk to us sensibly about what we are doing, but the group who are currently protesting in our city have repeatedly refused this offer."
Ray Bisby, acting police and crime commissioner, has been in talks with police over the protests and has praised their efforts in dealing with the incident.
"It is important that the right to peacefully protest is balanced against the other responsibilities of the police to promote public safety, maintain public order, prevent crime and protect the rights of others," he said.
"I have been and continue to be in daily contact with the chief (constable Nick Dean) to seek assurance as to how the police are responding.
"I hope people are now feeling more reassured that the police are responding appropriately and those committing offences are being dealt with as they rightly should be."
All those charged have been released on bail and will appear at Cambridge Magistrates' Court on March 30.
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"I know the police have escalated their action - with arrests being made following the actions on Trinity Green, at the Schlumberger Research Centre and at Shire Hall," Cllr Count added.
"I commend this police action, and I would like to see more of it."
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