East Sussex councillor accused of "violently" shoving Extinction Rebellion protestor in Lewes
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One protestor, a 68-year-old female, was allegedly ‘shoved onto her back’ by a councillor and landed ‘violently’ on her back in the corridor.
Claire Duc, from Lewes, said: "An as-yet unidentified Councillor pushed me out of a doorway so violently I landed on my back in a corridor, and me a 68-year old woman.
"I'm just here because I'm terrified about what's happening to our planet, and this is how that councillor chose to engage with me.
"I've reported it to the police and will get a crime number."
As the United Kingdom registered its hottest day since records began, around twenty protestors from across the county invaded the monthly ESCC Cabinet meeting at County Hall.
Councillors vacated the council chamber within minutes after the protestors entered the building and headed to another room.
Extinction Rebellion said the door was barred by council security guards to prevent anyone else entering.
At 11:20am, five police cars and a police van were outside County Hall, and a stand off developed, with protestors claiming that police were threatening to arrest those who wouldn't vacate the building.
Grace Lally, a childcare worker from Hastings and XR protestor, said: "It's 35°C here today and we have a national state of emergency, but this heatwave is not just endangering people's lives right now.
"You can't put crops in the shade - there are going to be global food shortages this year.
"If this is not an 'urgent matter' then what is? We rely on our politicians to represent us, to act on our behalf, to show leadership, and we are being let down so badly. It's devastating. I'm here because time is running out and we can't accept their excuses any longer."
XR has accused the ESCC of ‘passing the buck, excuses and wishful thinking’, and said it is demanding that the Council ‘steps up, shows leadership, and involves and inspires residents for the biggest task in human history’.
The protestors have accused the Council of continuing to invest its pension funds in fossil fuels and called on ESCC to take ‘concerted’ county-wide action on building and construction, transport, renewable energy and food production.
An East Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “Today’s meeting of East Sussex County Council’s cabinet was delayed by protesters who briefly invaded non-public areas of the council offices and also noisily disrupted the public meeting.
“The meeting was able to go ahead soon after and we are grateful to Sussex Police who helped ensure this could happen in an orderly way.
“The right to protest is important, but it cannot be allowed to halt other parts of our democracy – including decision-making by people elected to represent us all.”
The protests will continue into Wednesday.
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Mark Engineer, a University worker from Barcombe, near Lewes, said: “Of course East Sussex County Council should stop investing in fossil fuels. But they need to do much more than that.
“Quite honestly, we’re fed up with their inaction.”