Shock at ‘pre-crime’ attack on peaceful XR craftivists comes ahead of Patel’s draconian bill to suppress dissent

Leave our arts and crafts alone and free the press, say local activists.

Extinction Rebellion activists in North Devon have been shocked and angered by police action in London ahead of last weekend’s demonstrations by many campaigning groups against the new government bill drawn up by the Home Secretary which, says young North Devon climate protest activist, Harvey Hennessy, threatens to stifle all but the most anodyne gatherings to protest government inaction on matters ranging from racism to healthcare to climate emergency.

Although many have been unable to travel to London to take part in the protests there they have not been short on vocal criticism of Priti Patel and Cressida Dick. North Devon XR spokesperson Sue Williamson said XR members were arrested in a building where they had been making papier maché masks of figures like Rupert Murdoch who control our press and prevent press freedom.

“Did they really have to arrest women who were making art work?”  Sue and other peaceful North Devon activists made embroidered hearts to send a message of friendship to Devon councillors recently.  Part of the bid to persuade them to support a motion to full council to ask MPs to support the Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill. They received many kind responses.

“For generations people have protested using art and for this now to be seen as an activity which merits arrest is concerning. Are we living in a police state?”

Alison Campbell crocheting at home

Alison Campbell showed us a picture of herself sitting quietly at home crocheting

“You could call this crocheting with intent” she said “Along with my daughter and other North Devon Craftivists I will be contributing to the 1.5 mile long ’scarf’’ of climate messages being taken to COP 26 in November in a heartfelt plea to put the planet, not money, centre stage at their talks. You could say this is very much in the same line of thinking as those who were arrested in London. The 1.5 miles represents the 1.5 degrees global warming, above which we must not rise if life on earth is to remain anything like bearable. This was the target set by the Paris Agreement but if press moguls like Murdoch have their way and our voices are silenced people will still be in the dark about the horrifying emergency we are facing.”  

She added “Our local police force are far too reasonable and sensible to arrest anyone making hearts, butterflies or blankets but if the government’s new laws come into force they may be forced to act differently”

Alison with her placard from August 2020

Editor: Patel’s Police, Crimes, Sentencing and Courts bill comes back to the House of Commons on 5 July. We have written extensively on the powers it would give government and the police to suppress dissent and will be covering this dangerous bill further. Amendments to protect the right to protest must be made and passed.

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