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Climate demonstrators told to ‘pay’ for upcoming London march

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The 7 March protest is expected to see 20,000 people take to the streets to demand climate action. Creative Commons: Akuppa John Wigham, 2006

In a move labelled a threat to our democratic right to protest, organisers of the ‘Time to Act March’, to take place in London on 7 March, have been told to ‘pay’ for the demonstration.

The news was released after discussions between the organisers, Campaign against Climate Change (CACC), the Metropolitan Police, Greater London Authority and Westminster City council concluded this week.

CACC have been informed that they must provide security and traffic maintenance from private firms, before the protest can go ahead legally. In the past the police have always carried out this role.

It is estimated that around 20,000 people will attend the event in March. Due to the large scale of the demonstration, traffic regulation and security are required to maintain public and protester safety.

CACC requested a traffic management plan from the Met police and were refused. A Met spokeswoman maintained that the primary role of the police is ‘preventing and detecting crime, maintenance of the Queen’s Peace and protecting life and property’.

They argued that since there was no perceived threat on the demonstration it was not their responsibility to provide protection.

The organisers have estimated that they will be required to hire each steward at £120 per shift. The bill would stretch into the thousands and as a small organisation they argue that this is beyond their means.

Supported of the March protest are warning that imposing such condition on the small organising team is impending the “important democratic right” to protest.

The proposed protest following a strong year for climate action last year.

In September, 700,000 people took to the streets of New York and other cities around the world for the People’s Climate March, making it the largest climate protest in history.

With COP21 in Paris on the horizon, we will see increasing numbers of climate demonstrations.

The Time to Act March is supported by a coalition of many UK based organisations that work towards the alleviation of the effects of climate change. For example, Friends of the Earth, Avaaz, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Global Justice Now and Stop the War Coalition.

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