UN rights experts criticise London climate protest 'ban' before court hearing

(Reuters News, 16 Oct 2019) A police move to stop Extinction Rebellion members assembling is "clearly a violation of human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of association", UN expert says.

A lawyer working with Extinction Rebellion climate protesters in London said the group hopes a court hearing on Thursday will rule that a police ban on their public gatherings this week is unlawful, as U.N. experts said it violated their human rights.

The Metropolitan Police said on Monday it had tightened rules on the two-week Extinction Rebellion "Autumn Uprising" because there had been breaches of public order regulations and "ongoing serious disruption to the community".

"Anyone who fails to comply... is liable for arrest and prosecution," it added on its website.

At an Extinction Rebellion rally in London's Trafalgar Square on Wednesday, speakers denounced the protest restrictions before a crowd of nearly 500 activists, flanked by police in day-glow vests.

Craig Bennett, CEO of green group Friends of the Earth, called the temporary order "draconian, appalling, shocking".

"When the state tries to shut down lawful, peaceful protest, you know the state has lost its argument," he said, as activists - many with black tape over their mouths - hoisted magenta and blue silk flags sporting Extinction Rebellion's hourglass logo.

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Reuters News, 16 Oct 2019: UN rights experts criticise London climate protest 'ban' before court hearing