London’s Metropolitan Police issued a revised Section 14 order last month when thousands of protesters took to the city’s streets, stating that “any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’ … must now cease their protest(s) within London.”
The police imposed the four-day ban on October 14 — the final week of the movement’s two-week campaign of civil disobedience in the city — making all public assemblies associated with the movement across London illegal.
Judges ruled that the Section 14 legislation, made law in 1986, did not cover separate assemblies.
In his ruling, Lord Justice Digemans said: “Separate gatherings, separated both in time and by many miles, even if coordinated under the umbrella of one body, are not a public assembly within the meaning of the Section 14 of the 1986 Act … Therefore the decision to impose the condition was unlawful because there was no power to impose it under Section 14 of the 1986 Act.”
Tobias Garnett, a human rights lawyer with Extinction Rebellion’s legal strategy team, told CNN: “We’re overjoyed. It is a landmark decision in a way that it reaffirms our right to protest and it makes clear to the police that they are not going to be allowed to use powers that they don’t have.”
The force’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor previously justified the ban, citing “the continued breaches of the Section 14 condition previously implemented, and ongoing serious disruption to the community.”
“This was an…