A LOCAL protester is overjoyed that the London Extinction Rebellion arrests have been ruled unlawful by the High Court.

Judges have ruled that police who imposed the ban, which prevented two or more people from the group taking part in protests, had no power to do so. Activists believe thousands could now sue the police for false imprisonment.

Jo Ripley, 61, from Marlborough, who helps co-ordinate action for the area, spent 10 days protesting in the capital.

She said: “I was what you call an arrestable because I was happy and chose to be arrested for the cause and I made that known. We were breaking the law by being in the road, so we were threatened a few times.

“I was arrested and released under investigation so I’m still waiting to hear about that.

“It was completely unjustifiable to say we couldn’t be anywhere in London. It backfired on them as it is a basic democratic right to take part in peaceful protest.

“Because of the thousands of people up there they couldn’t arrest everyone. This was the first time I have been arrested so I don’t make a habit of breaking the law.

“Of course, I had thought about it but I’m of an age where the consequences aren’t as great. I work part time, but it doesn’t affect my ability or judgment to do my work. It doesn’t affect any visa as I have no intention to go to America.

“I feel I’m of a safe demographic as I’m white, middle-aged and female but particularly the first two, work to my advantage. If you were a different demographic you would probably think hard about putting yourself in that position.

“I think the recent ban is great. On the other hand I chose to be arrested to spread the message, so that this acts as a fire alarm to spread the message and prevent further damage being done.

“Interestingly, people from April’s protest haven’t been found guilty of an offence. I feel judges didn’t want to jeopardise people’s future particularly for those with jobs that are important within the community.

Over 1,880 were arrested over the two weeks. A group of 25 protestors along with Mrs Ripley got arrested just before midnight on October 9.

“We were there for hours, but I feel we’re very lucky to have the police force. When they do come to arrest you it didn’t feel strange, they were very decent about it. Most completely understand why you’re there. Although they may not want to be there, they appreciate the cause and that we aren’t being violent towards them.

“I see it very much as looking at successful non-violent protests, like the civil rights movement, Indian struggle for independence and the suffragettes, it really matters that it’s known that the focus is non-violent.

“Extinction Rebellion is worldwide so it will continue. Groups are springing up where it is brave to speak out, as they can’t take the same action we can.

“Just looking at the news now, Scientists can’t say one direct action is causing climate change, but they have predicted it. I think it’s happening much faster than they thought. There is a growing pressure for people to do something.”