Heather Gardiner, 58, psychotherapist from Somerset

Heather, who also volunteers for Cruse Bereavement, was first arrested on 21st April 2019 on Waterloo Bridge under Section 14 of the Public Order Act. She changed her plea to guilty on 30th December 2019 at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and received a six month conditional discharge and £105 court costs. She was arrested for a second time on 13th October 2019 protesting the treatment of disabled XR activists outside Scotland Yard during the 2019 October Rebellion. Proceedings were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

“I got involved with XR because I heard about it from a Buddhist teacher I know and trust. As soon as I heard, I knew that it was a wonderful, but for me daunting, opportunity to protest peacefully about issues that I had felt great concern and powerlessness about and to do it peacefully.

I was honestly afraid about getting arrested both because I’m a law abiding person and that it might mean I couldn’t be a member of my counselling body or keep volunteering for Cruse. In the end they were very supportive, but it was a risk I felt I had to take because of terrible ecological destruction happening already and the unimaginable consequences if we don’t ‘Act Now’ for future generations. I felt I had to say my personal ‘No, not in my name’. It went against all my conditioning but I have no regrets, and much gratitude to XR.”

Photo credit: Helena Smith

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