St Albans climate activist arrested at Extinction Rebellion protest

Nigel Harvey from St Albans was arrested at an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest. Picture:

Nigel Harvey from St Albans was arrested at an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest. Picture: Clare Harvey - Credit: Archant

A St Albans man was among the first to be arrested during climate protests in central London last week.

Nigel Harvey, 56, of Cunningham Road, was arrested during the Extinction Rebellion climate protests on Monday, October 7.

He had sat on the pavement in Trafalgar Square to prevent the removal of a scaffolding tower which the protestors had erected, climbed, then super-glued themselves to.

Mr Harvey said: "Extinction Rebellion follows the models of the Suffragettes and the American Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King.

"One day I hope to have grandchildren. When they ask me whether I did anything to prevent this crisis, I'll have some sort of answer for them."

Mr Harvey was arrested by the Metropolitan Police at 4pm in Trafalgar Square for alleged wilful obstruction of the public highway.

He then spent a night in a police cell, and was released early on Tuesday, October 8 without interview, caution or charge. He is one of nearly 600 protestors to have been arrested.

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The protesters were following the example of climate activist Greta Thunberg, and her school strikes calling for urgent action against climate change.

Seeing himself as a climate martyr, Mr Harvey states that he was keen to allow himself to be taken into custody and said: "I chose to be arrested, and I chose to have that arrest publicised, as a way of raising awareness."

He is adamant that he is not one of the 'crusties', as the protestors were portrayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week, and that most of the protestors were 'educated professionals'.

Mr Harvey holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and is the CEO of Recolight Ltd., a non-profit company which coordinates the recycling of florescent tubes and energy saving light bulbs for its clients in order to comply with UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations.

Mr Harvey said: "The great mistake is to imagine that the UK will be okay.

"The changes that are affecting the planet will wipe out millions of hectares of agricultural land and dispossess many millions of people across the globe.

"You can be certain the repercussions will damage the UK."