Extinction Rebellion dubbed ‘extremist organisation’ by counter-terrorism police

Extinction Rebellion (XR) has criticised police after it found itself listed as an 'extremist organisation' on an official report.

Documents, first seen by the Guardian, revealed that the environmental protest group had been listed alongside National Action and Islamic extremists in a guide drawn up by Counter Terror Police South East (CTPSE).

The activists branded the label a " terrorism slur" and a "deliberate attempt to silence" them. XR also asked "how dare they?" and said: "Children up and down the country are desperately fighting for a future.

"Teachers, grandparents, nurses have been trying their best with loving nonviolence to get politicians and big business to do something about the dire state of our planet.

"And this is how the establishment responds."


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Extinction Rebellion has held climate change protests across the globe, and its actions in the UK have included closing Westminster Bridge and parking a pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus for several days.

The 12-page "safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism" document, issued to teachers and police officers, among others, says the group is a threat due to its "anti-establishment philosophy".

It also warns that expressions of support could include "people speaking in strong or emotive terms about environmental issues like climate change, ecology, fracking, airport expansion or pollution".

One former chief superintendent called the listing "astonishing".

Rob Cooper said: "If they wish to add anyone to their list of extremist groups, perhaps they should consider fossil fuel lobby groups.

What is Extinction Rebellion?

Extinction Rebellion is a global environmental movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience 'in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse'.

The group, also referred to as XR, say they aren't focused on traditional petitions or writing to MPs and admit they are more likely to take risks, that could involve arrest or even jail time.

On their website, they write: "We are promoting mass 'above the ground' civil disobedience – in full public view.

"This means economic disruption to shake the current political system and civil disruption to raise awareness.

"We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience that this causes."

The group says that their vision is simple – creating a world that is fit for generations to come – using non-violent strategy and tactics as the more effective way to bring about change.


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"They seem to be very effective at indoctrinating politicians around the globe and enabling oil, gas and coal companies to receive massive subsidies whilst the planet burns."

According to the Guardian, XR featured in a version of the document that was issued in November but has since been recalled and the group is not classed as extremist.

DCS Kath Barned, the head of CTPSE, said: "I would like to make it quite clear that we do not classify Extinction Rebellion as an extremist organisation.

"The inclusion of Extinction Rebellion in this document was an error of judgment and we will now be reviewing all of the contents as a result."

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