A CLIMATE activist claimed that 'armed officers threatened to arrest' her at a 'picnic'.

Sarah Webb, Extinction Rebellion member from Wallingford was protesting on the Chequers Estate in Buckinghamshire on Friday July 23. The group were protesting about the Climate Emergency, after having seen footage of the recent floods in Germany and China, and the ‘heat dome’ in Canada. The protesters made a banner encouraging the Prime Minister (who was self isolating at Chequers at the time) and the Government to ‘stop investing in fossil fuels’, and flew some Extinction Rebellion flags.

With Ms Webb was with a small family group of nine people, including two children aged seven and four, two Grandmothers and three dogs.

However, Ms Webb said that after about 10 minutes of entering the estate, two police officers armed with automatic rifles approached the group and questioned them.

The activist said that the group felt intimidated, put away their banner, and walked further along the public footpath to find some shade to sit in, as the children and the dogs were getting hot. She added that they were about to sit down to have a picnic lunch, when four 'fully armed police officers' descended on the family group, telling them it was illegal for them to sit on the public footpath on the whole of the 1500 acre estate, and threatened to arrest them.

Oxford Mail: Sarah Webb thretend arrest at XR picnic

Ms Webb said: "We thought we’d bring some flags on our little walk, and, as a member of Extinction Rebellion, I fully expected to get some grief from the police, even though we are not breaking any laws, nor blocking, nor disrupting anything. But I didn’t expect four machine guns to be pulled out in front of young children."

Thames Valley Police said: “Due to the security arrangements in place at Chequers, the majority of Thames Valley Police officers stationed there are armed, therefore when officers at the site engage with members of the public, there is a strong likelihood that these officers will be carrying firearms. However, it is incorrect to assert that they were carrying fully automatic weapons. UK police forces do not carry weapons of this nature.

“Permissive footpaths are in place at Chequers. That means that while members of the public can walk along the footpaths, it is prohibited for them to stop on grass verges there, for example to have a picnic or to protest. If members of the public are found doing this, they could be asked to move, and if they refuse to do this, they may face arrest.

“Designated protest points are in place at locations around the Chequers estate, and as such people are asked to gather there if they wish to carry out a protest.”

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