Extinction Rebellion (XR), the non-violent climate change protest organisation, were previously included on a list of extremist ideologies including neo-Nazi groups, according to reports.
Read more: Extinction Rebellion – “This is not the end”
The group was included in a 12-page guide, dated last November, produced by counter-terrorism police titled “Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism” – a decision which the police have since called a “lapse of judgement” following investigation from The Guardian.
The guide advises officers to look out for young people who “neglect to attend school” or “participate in planned school walkouts,” a reference to Greta Thunberg’s ‘school strike for climate’ movement and its international offshoots.
Officials said they would review the guidance to clarify their position on Extinction Rebellion after probing from The Guardian, later confirming that it had been recalled.
Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), where the document was shared, posted an initial statement: “This document was produced at a local level to help our partners to spot the signs of vulnerability to radicalisation. By including Extinction Rebellion in this document, it gives the impression we consider them to be an extremist group, which they are not. We will review the guidance to make this clear.”
Later, after further inquiries from The Guardian, police said they would recall the document. DCS Kath Barnes, head of CTPSE, said: “I would like to make it quite clear that we do not classify Extinction Rebellion as an extremist organisation.
“The inclusion of Extinction Rebellion in this document was an error of judgment and we will now be reviewing all of the contents as a result.” The statement went on to explain why the initial guide had been published, and the details of the recall.
A spokesperson for XR said: “How dare they? Children up and down the country are desperately fighting for a future. Teachers, grandparents, nurses have been trying their best with loving nonviolence to get politicians and big business to do something about the dire state of our planet. And this is how the establishment responds.”
The hard rock veteran argued last week (January 3) that the 17-year-old activist’s time would be better spent on something other than working to reverse climate change.
“I feel for that Greta,” he said. “She has been brainwashed into thinking that there is climate change and there isn’t. She hasn’t done anything wrong but she’s been forced into thinking that what she is saying is true.”