Tributes have been paid to three British nationals who died when a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iran.
Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners, BP engineer Sam Zokaei and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi were all on board the flight.
They were among the 176 people from seven countries who died in the crash.
Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed just after taking off from Imam Khomeini airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).
The airline said the plane underwent scheduled maintenance on Monday.
A Downing Street spokesman said the UK was “working closely with the Ukrainian authorities and the Iranian authorities” over the crash, and there was “no indication” the plane was brought down by a missile.
As well as the three Britons, the victims in the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians – including all of the crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans and three Germans, Ukraine foreign affairs minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
Rescue teams have been sent to the crash site but the head of Iran’s Red Crescent told state media that it was “impossible” for anyone to have survived the crash.
Tributes were paid locally to Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh, 40, who ran a neighbourhood dry cleaners in Hassocks, West Sussex, and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Steve Edgington from the pet shop next door said he had known Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh for 14 years, and described him as a lovely, hardworking man who was good at his job and loved by staff.
Savvas Savvidis, 36, who rented a room in Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh’s home in Brighton, said he was a “super-nice person”.
“It’s so sad. Before he left we had a conversation, he told me that he spent all his life working, working really hard, and now finally he wants to start to enjoy life a bit more.”
Mr Savvidis described Mr Kadkhoda Zadeh as a humble man who loved his daughter very much.
The dry cleaners closed on Wednesday, with neighbouring businesses telling the BBC that staff were too upset to stay open.
Meanwhile, in a statement, BP said “with the deepest regret” that its employee Mr Zokaei, 42, from Twickenham, was among the passengers.
Mr Zokaei had been on holiday. He had worked for BP for 14 years and was based at the company’s site in Sunbury-on-Thames in Surrey.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our friend and colleague and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends,” BP said.
A friend of Mr Zokaei, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC they were “still in shock”.
“He was a highly accomplished person. Very clever and very friendly. Always smiling and full of positive energy. He will be sorely missed.
“He was always trying new adventures. He cycled and toured Europe on bikes a few times. He also loved travelling to interesting far out places.”
Also killed was Mr Tahmasebi, 35, who worked as an engineer for Laing O’Rourke in Dartford.
Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.
“Everyone here is shocked and saddened by this very tragic news,” said Laing O’Rourke.
“Saeed was a popular and well respected engineer and will be missed by many of his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time and we will do all we can to support them through it.”
‘Humble and generous’
Mr Tahmasebi – whose full name was Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi – was also a part-time PhD student at Imperial College London’s Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “We are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi was a brilliant engineer with a bright future.
“His contributions to systems engineering earned respect from everyone who dealt with him and will benefit society for years to come.
“He was a warm, humble and generous colleague and close friend to many in our community. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Saeed’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as all those affected by this tragedy.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with the families of those killed.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman has said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in the plane crash in Iran overnight.”
They said it was “urgently seeking confirmation” about how many British nationals were on board and would be supporting any families affected.
Melinda Simmons, British ambassador to Ukraine, said her thoughts are with those affected.
Ukraine’s state aviation service has forbidden its national airlines from using Iranian airspace from Thursday, with the restrictions in place until an investigation into the cause of the crash has concluded.
Ukraine’s embassy in Tehran and Iranian state television both initially said technical issues caused the crash.
But the embassy later removed this statement and said any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.
Ukraine said its entire civilian aviation fleet would be checked for airworthiness and criminal proceedings would be opened into the disaster.
The country’s president warned against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe” until official reports were ready.
Ukrainian International Airlines said the flight disappeared from radar just a “few minutes” after take-off.
The Ukrainian national carrier said according to preliminary data there were 167 passengers and nine crew members on board but its staff were “clarifying the exact number”.
“The airline expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the air crash and will do everything possible to support the relatives of the victims,” a statement said.
The airline, which is investigating the crash, said the aircraft – a Boeing 737-800 – was built in 2016 and had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday.
There was no sign of any problems with the plane before take-off and the airline’s president said it had an “excellent, reliable crew”.
A statement from Boeing said its “heartfelt thoughts” were with all those affected following the “tragic event”.
There are several thousand Boeing 737-800s in operation around the world which have completed tens of millions of flights. They have been involved in 10 incidents, including this crash, where at least one passenger was killed, aviation safety analyst Todd Curtis told the BBC.
This is the first time a Ukraine International Airlines plane has been involved in a fatal crash.
Crystal Palace substitute Connor Wickham scored a late equaliser awarded by video assistant referee to deny bottom side Norwich a much-needed victory at Carrow Road.
Wickham’s strike after turning in Wilfried Zaha’s cross was initially disallowed for offside, but a check by VAR showed the striker was being played on by an outstretched Norwich boot.
Palace had struggled to create against a resolute Canaries defence – who remain without a clean sheet at home this season – after Todd Cantwell put the hosts in front after only four minutes.
But Norwich ultimately paid for not scoring a decisive second, having come close several times, with Emiliano Buendia drawing a fine save from Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and Kenny McLean hitting the underside of the crossbar.
A renewed Palace surged forward in search of a late winner but Norwich held firm to avoid further damage.
But the Canaries are now five points adrift at the bottom of the table following Watford’s win over Wolves earlier on Wednesday.
Zaha makes most of rare opening
Zaha was a frustrated figure for most of this game, failing to pick up the ball in space to take on his man and quickly swarmed by Norwich defenders when receiving it in a stationary position.
By cutting out his threat, Norwich seemed to have effectively prevented Palace from creating any clear chances, only for Zaha to prove his worth right at the end.
The Palace winger collected debutant Brandon Pierrick’s neat pass, stole a yard on Max Aarons and fired in an excellent cross for Wickham to convert.
Although the linesman raised his flag for offside, referee Jon Moss quickly consulted VAR, with replays showing that as the ball left Zaha’s foot, Wickham was behind the boot of Norwich’s last man.
After VAR had overturned a goal for Palace against Southampton on Saturday for a marginal call and following other more contentious decisions in Wednesday’s games, this was an example of the technology working efficiently and well.
A point for Palace sees them remain ninth, eight points off the top four.
Norwich needed a second
Norwich looked to be on course for a first league win since November, and to at least keep pace with their relegation rivals, but their failure to convert chances when on top and a brief lapse in concentration mean they are now winless in eight Premier League matches.
The hosts made an ideal start, Buendia slaloming into the area after a one-two with Cantwell and firing in a shot that was deflected back into Cantwell’s path, with the 21-year-old calmly slotting under Guaita.
Palace appealed for offside and VAR was quickly consulted but Cantwell was clearly onside.
Buendia, Cantwell and striker Teemu Pukki tracked back throughout and provided enough outlet to ensure their side did not get drawn into sitting too deep for too long, even when Palace dominated possession in spells.
They were unfortunate not to score again, with McLean almost capping a sublime move but seeing his strike bounce back off the bar and Pukki failing to fashion a chance when one-on-one against Palace centre-back James Tomkins.
Despite a much stronger defensive showing, a brief lapse and a lack of clinical edge has cost Norwich a vital two points as they head in to a run of fixtures against Manchester United, relegation rivals Bournemouth and Tottenham, seven points from safety.
Man of the match – Emiliano Buendia (Norwich)
‘It feels like a loss’ – manager reaction
Norwich manager Daniel Farke to BT Sport: “The lads were brilliant today and Crystal Palace are always well structured and we managed it, but we missed chances in the second half. It is unbelievably disappointing to concede in the 88th minute and it feels like a loss.
“It is difficult to create chances against Palace, it was difficult to find the spaces and we hit the bar from six yards. The lads deserved the three points but the reality is only one.
“We cannot influence the other results. We have to come as close to 40 points and it is a long road. It would have been a massive step today so it feels even more disappointing to concede the late goal.”
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson to BBC Sport: “It was very close [for the goal]. You think it might be offside and with the technology you see someone has stuck a foot out, leaned forward and the margins are fine.
“We took chances in the end with 4-2-4 and got our reward, the boldness of the move paid off.
“Connor Wickham has been unlucky with injuries – injury after injury, and he has not been available in my time at the club. It was nice he could play again and I am looking forward to seeing him playing on Sunday.”
Canaries keep dropping points from winning positions – match stats
- Norwich have dropped 14 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season (all since the start of December), only West Ham have dropped more (15).
- Connor Wickham’s equaliser for Crystal Palace was his first Premier League goal since netting against Manchester City back in November 2016.
- No English midfielder has scored more Premier League goals than Norwich’s Todd Cantwell this season (6 – level with Dele Alli, James Maddison and Jack Grealish).
- Norwich’s Emiliano Buendía has provided seven Premier League assists this season – only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (8) and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (12) have registered more in the competition in 2019-20.
- At 18 years and 22 days old, substitute Brandon Pierrick became the second youngest player to feature for Crystal Palace in a Premier League game after George Ndah vs Liverpool in November 1992 (17 years and 341 days).
Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.
Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.
Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.
“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.
Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.
“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”
Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.
But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.
“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.
“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.
“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.
“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”
Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.
There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.
Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.
Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.
“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”
A man has been jailed for murdering a 14-year-old boy in a “savage, frenzied” attack.
Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and repeatedly stabbed by rival gang member Ayoub Majdouline in Bickley Road, Leyton, in January.
The drug dealer was found guilty of the murder on 11 December after his DNA was found on the murder weapon.
Majdouline, 19, of Wembley, was sentenced at the Old Bailey to life with a minimum term of 21 years.
As Jaden’s family left court, his father Julian Moodie said he was happy with the sentence, adding: “British justice has been done.”
Sentencing Majdouline, Judge Richard Marks said he could not “ignore the evidence” about Jaden’s drug dealing and other criminal-related history.
“That he became so involved starting at the age of 13 is truly shocking but none of that means he deserved to die, still less in the circumstances in which he did,” he said.
Majdouline was one of five men linked to the stabbing who drove around east London in a stolen Mercedes looking for members of a rival gang to attack on the night of 8 January, the court heard.
The group, linked to drug gang the Mali Boys, had covered their faces and two of them, including Majdouline, wore yellow rubber gloves to avoid being identified.
The killing was caught on graphic CCTV, which was shown at the trial.
Once the group spotted Jaden, he was knocked off his moped by the car.
Gang members then got out of the car and stabbed him while he lay on the ground.
Jaden, who was dealing drugs for rival gang the Beaumont Crew, suffered nine stab wounds and bled to death in the road as the attackers ran back to the car and sped off, the court heard.
In a victim impact statement, Jaden’s mother Jada Bailey said her son was a “loving and caring, family-orientated little boy” and described his murder as “barbaric”.
Ms Bailey said she felt “let down” by organisations she had turned to for help.
She told the BBC she had complained to social services about her son being groomed by gangs, and moved 140 miles from Nottinghamshire to Waltham Forest in east London to escape trouble.
“I feel like all this could have been avoided,” she said.
“No parent should have to bury their child before themselves.”
Majdouline had a “non-existent childhood” and was particularly traumatised by the murder of his father, the court heard.
Three years after his father’s death, he was identified by the National Crime Agency as a victim of “modern slavery”.
His lawyer James Scobie QC told the court: “He had significant disruption by experiences of trauma and exposure to certain ideologies that no-one of any age should be exposed to.”
Giving evidence in the trial, Majdouline said he had turned to county lines drug dealing “to survive”.
Det Insp Dave Hillier said the Met Police’s “work is not over yet” and the investigation was still live.
“We know that there were five people in that black Mercedes,” he said.
“After deliberately ramming Jaden off his moped, his attackers did not think twice about carrying out a savage, frenzied attack on him – stabbing him nine times in seven seconds while he laid defenceless on the ground.”
A ricochet from a police bullet could have passed through the entire top deck of a bus during the London Bridge terror attack, pictures reveal.
The police have suggested a ricochet could have hit the bus, stopped near to where attacker Usman Khan was shot.
And a picture given to BBC News by a man on the bus directly behind shows a round hole and a shattered back window.
But a closer examination of other photos from the bridge reveals a hole in the front window of the bus as well.
The man, who does not want to be named, believes the bus he was on was also clipped.
He was at the front of the upper deck when he saw, heard and felt the impact of the back window of the bus in front shattering, and immediately dived to the floor.
“We are talking about a split-second of noise,” he said.
“In no more than a half-a-second I was on the floor.”
Armed officers shot Khan after he had been tackled by members of the public using improvised weapons including fire extinguishers and a narwhal tusk.
Khan had been chased from nearby Fishmongers’ Hall, after a knife attack in which he had killed Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who had been working at a prison rehabilitation event at the hall.
Dr Rachel Bolton-King, associate professor of forensic science at Staffordshire University agreed the ricocheted bullet could have passed “through one window, through the length of the bus and out the window at the opposite end of the bus”.
“Ricochet bullets are often unstable once they have hit their first target surface,” she said.
They could continue “nose on” in the normal direction of flight but could also be deflected sideways or into other angles.
And investigators would be able to find the direction of travel by examining the front and back surfaces of the window.
Philip Boyce, of forensic services company Forensic Equity, said the bullet could have entered through the front window and glanced off the ceiling of the bus before going out through the back.
Ricochets could carry for hundreds of yards, depending on the surfaces they hit but well within the distance between the bus and the site of Khan’s shooting, he said.
And their path could be altered by what they hit or passed through, such as laminated or toughened glass.
An inquest opened last week and the Independent Office for Police Conduct is carrying out an investigation.
A man accused of murdering a 14-year-old boy sold drugs for a London gang so he could “survive”, and would carry a knife for “safety”, a court has heard.
Jaden Moodie was knocked off a moped and stabbed to death in Leyton, north-east London, on 8 January.
Ayoub Majdouline, who is accused of being one of five men who carried out the attack, told the Old Bailey he had sold drugs since he was 16 years old.
The 19-year-old, from Wembley, denies murder and possession of a knife.
The court has been told Jaden was selling drugs for the Beaumont Crew, also known as Let’s Get Rich, when he was attacked by a group of men who were looking for a rival gang member to attack.
Jurors heard Mr Majdouline had a troubled upbringing in Leyton and his parents had split up when he was seven.
While living with his mother, he was abused by his stepfather so went to live with his aunt, the court was told.
However, that relationship broke down and he ended up in foster care. His father also died in 2015.
The court was told he had been identified as a victim of modern slavery by the National Crime Agency (NCA) over concerns he was being exploited by older youths.
Giving evidence, Mr Majdouline said he sold drugs “for and with” the Mali Boys gang, including as part of county lines dealing in Basingstoke, Ipswich and Andover.
He told jurors he was previously jailed for drug and knife offences but went straight back to dealing “to survive”
“At the time I did not feel like I was being supported by social services and I never lived by myself before,” he said.
He added that he got “confused” sorting out jobseekers’ allowance when he turned 18 and dealing had been “the only way I knew how to make money”.
Explaining why he carried a knife, Mr Majdouline said he had been “sliced” on one occasion in Basingstoke so carried a blade “for my own safety”.
The trial continues.
A woman who was praised for intervening to stop anti-Semitic abuse said she hopes her story can inspire others.
Asma Shuweikh, was reunited with the father of the family that was racially abused while travelling on the London Underground.
“We spoke about our common ground,” she told the BBC “we should learn to get along in this multi-faith world.”
A man has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.
In a video shared on social media a man was filmed reading Bible passages which are interpreted as being anti-Semitic to two boys in skullcaps travelling on the Northern Line.
Ms Shuweikh, who was widely praised for confronting the man in the video, said she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again” and wished more people had intervened.
“The kids looked terrified. I’m a mother and I couldn’t just stand by,” she said.
“As a practising Muslim I can’t see injustice and not intervene. It goes against what we are taught.”
Meeting with the father, who has chosen not to be named, was “really, really nice,” she said.
“We spent an hour talking. At the end of the day we all need to get along as we all live in this country.
“That’s what’s nice about Britain. it’s a multi-cultural society.”
“I hope that people see this story and realise when you go through these things we can come together and something good can come from it.”
Previously the father said that without her intervention, he thought the abuse might have escalated to physical violence.
He said: “We are certain that without her intervention and distraction, he would have continued his abuse.
Jose Mourinho has been appointed Tottenham manager after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday.
Former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho has signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season.
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me,” said the 56-year-old Portuguese. “Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football.”
Mourinho will hold his first news conference as Tottenham boss at 14:00 GMT on Thursday.
The Portuguese’s basic salary is £8m a year, significantly less than his pay at United, which was around £12m.
Lille coaches Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos will join his backroom team, the French club have confirmed, while he will also be reunited with fitness coach Carlos Lalin and tactical analyst Giovanni Cerra, who both worked under Mourinho at United.
Tottenham reached the Champions League final last season under Pochettino, but lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
The Argentine, who was appointed in May 2014, did not win a trophy in his time in charge of the north London club, with Spurs’ last silverware being the League Cup in 2008.
Levy said Mourinho has “a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician”.
“He has won honours at every club he has coached,” he added. “We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
Mourinho still has a home in London and won three Premier League titles – in 2005, 2006 and 2015 – as well as one FA Cup in two spells at Chelsea.
Having taken over at Manchester United in May 2016, he won the Europa League and Carabao Cup with them in 2017.
Mourinho was sacked by the Old Trafford club in December 2018, with the club 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool, and had not managed another side before joining Spurs.
He has also previously managed Portuguese side Porto, where he won the Champions League in 2004.
At Italian club Inter Milan, Mourinho won a league, cup and Champions League treble in 2010 and was named Fifa’s world coach of the year, while he led Spanish team Real Madrid to the La Liga title in 2012.
He takes over a Spurs side that are without a win in their past five games and have slipped to 14th in the Premier League, 20 points behind leaders Liverpool after just 12 matches.
Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust had said “many fans thought Poch had earned the right” to try to turn around the side’s form and that “there are questions that must be asked of the board”.
Following Mourinho’s appointment, it said it had “concerns about how Jose and our club’s executive board will work together”.
It added: “The club must ensure it does not find itself in the same position in two or three years’ time, and we need to hear from the executive board what the long-term thinking behind this appointment is.”
Mourinho’s first match in charge is a trip to West Ham United on Saturday (12:30 GMT kick-off).
Spurs go to Manchester United on 4 December, and host another of Mourinho’s former teams – Chelsea – on 22 December.
Mourinho has turned down a number of managerial opportunities, including in China, Spain and Portugal, since leaving Old Trafford.
BBC sports editor Dan Roan
Spurs have never hired a manager as expensive or demanding as Mourinho, nor spent the kind of money on players that he became accustomed to at clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United.
But Spurs have come a long way in recent years under Pochettino. They have a new £1bn stadium and training ground, and spent four successive seasons in the Champions League.
They now have a European pedigree, and a hugely talented squad.
Mourinho has been out of the game for almost a year but retained a home in London.
His tribulations at Manchester United saw him lose his ‘Special One’ status, but his many achievements in the game still command widespread respect.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is returning to football after he agreed to become Fifa’s new chief of global football development.
The move ends speculation linking the Frenchman, 70, with a return to management as Bayern Munich boss.
Wenger left the Gunners in May 2018, after 22 years in charge, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” he said.
Wenger’s new role at the world governing body will help to develop men’s and women’s football, as well as technical aspects of the sport.
He will now be a member of the technical panel of the International Football Association Board, and chairman of Fifa’s technical study group.
A police ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London last month was unlawful, High Court judges have ruled.
The Metropolitan Police imposed the ban, which prevented two or more people from the group taking part in protests, under the Public Order Act.
But judges have ruled that police had no power to do this because the law did not cover “separate assemblies”.
Activists say the police could now face claims for false imprisonment from “potentially hundreds” of protesters.
The Met said it would “carefully consider” the ruling.
The protests cost £24m to police and led to 1,828 arrests, with 165 people charged with offences, the Met says.
During the court hearing, the force had argued that the ban was the only way to tackle widespread disruption.
Announcing their judgement, however, Lord Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice Chamberlain ruled in favour of Extinction Rebellion.
Lord Justice Dingemans said: “Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if co-ordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of… the Act.
“The XR [Extinction Rebellion] autumn uprising intended to be held from October 14 to 19 was not therefore a public assembly… therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under… the Act.”
The judges noted that there are powers within that act which may be used lawfully to “control future protests which are deliberately designed to ‘take police resources to breaking point”‘.
During 10 days of climate change protests last month, activists shut down areas around Parliament and the Bank of England, and targeted London City Airport.
Police had previously warned protesters to keep demonstrations in Trafalgar Square, or risk arrest – before issuing a city-wide ban on 14 October, under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
The court was told that the ban was issued on the same day as a message posted online by London activists.
It told protesters to adopt the “be water” tactics used by demonstrators in Hong Kong.
“Be water, crowds split up into fast moving groups and pairs, that network via phones,” it said.
“You gather at particular spots in large numbers, until the police response building then you move to a new disruptive site.”
The ban was lifted four days later, with officers saying that it was no longer necessary because demonstrations had ended.
BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford
This was a radical tactic adopted by the Metropolitan Police on 14 October – banning all future Extinction Rebellion protests across London for several days.
But it has backfired. No police force likes to have their actions described as “unlawful”.
Today’s High Court ruling takes away from officers the ability to impose a city-wide ban of future protests, which means demonstrators wanting to be “like water” – where they split into fast-moving groups – will be difficult to control if they are trying to disrupt a whole city.
So police will have to deal with what is in front of them.
If a specific protest in a specific place gets out of hand they will be able to close it down, but it will have to be a decision made by an officer on the spot, and not by someone sitting in a police station worrying about what protests may happen the next day.
Responding to Wednesday’s ruling, Extinction Rebellion UK tweeted “we won’t be silenced”.
Green Party peer Jenny Jones – who was among those to bring the legal challenge – described the ruling as “historic” and criticised ministers for speaking out in favour of the ban.
Met Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the decision to impose the ban had been “reasonable and proportionate” and “was not taken lightly”.
He added that the police “would not and cannot ban protest” and that the ruling was made specifically on whether officers could arrest demonstrators for assembling in central London.
“There is no criticism from me of the decision to impose the condition, which was made with good intent and based upon the circumstances confronting the command team at the time,” he said.
“It did in fact result in the reduction of the disruption. Nevertheless, this case highlights that policing demonstrations like these, within the existing legal framework, can be challenging.”
What does Extinction Rebellion want?
Extinction Rebellion’s legal victory follows two weeks of protests in the UK last month.
The group (XR for short) wants governments to declare a “climate and ecological emergency” and take immediate action to address climate change.
It describes itself as an international “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement”.
Launched in 2018, organisers say it has groups willing to take action in dozens of countries.
It uses an hourglass inside a circle as its logo, to represent time running out for many species.