XR co-founder demands police arrest ‘criminal’ government after intimidating conspiracy charges dropped - Extinction Rebellion UK

XR co-founder demands police arrest ‘criminal’ government after intimidating conspiracy charges dropped

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PHOTOS (Gail and CGAN below)

More evidence of the justice system’s escalating war on climate protest emerged today as Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook revealed Metropolitan Police chiefs have suddenly dropped serious criminal charges against her.

Bradbrook has had conspiracy charges with a maximum jail term of 10 years hanging over her for two years since police raided her home, arrested her in handcuffs and seized computer equipment and personal papers in May 2021. Now the Met have finally admitted that they have insufficient evidence to pursue their case and dropped all charges.

At the same time, the force, recently branded institutionally misogynist, racist and homophobic, continues to refuse to consider a dossier of evidence delivered by Bradbrook and other legal activists which suggests the British government are guilty of genocide through inaction on the climate emergency.

“My experience raises a very serious question,” says Bradbrook. “While raiding, arresting, jailing and demonising climate defenders, what is the legal system doing to actually prosecute those that are profiting from the destruction of the planet?”

Her words come as the World Meteorological Office warned the world would likely reach 1.5C of warming over the next five years and the government continues to issue new licences for oil, gas and coal. They also come against the backdrop of a rising authoritarian crackdown in the UK on peaceful climate protest by government, police and courts. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (2022) and the new Public Order Act have introduced draconian new deterrents and prison sentences for environmental and social justice activists using disruptive non-violent direct-action tactics to force climate action by the State and big business.

 One judge, Silas Reid, has jailed activists for contempt of court for trying to use the climate crisis as a defence for their disruptive actions during trials, and even for sitting outside of his court with a sign informing jurors they have the right to act according to their conscience when returning verdicts.

A backlash is growing against what many critics say is an increasingly authoritarian legal environment. More than 170 top lawyers have signed a pledge not to prosecute climate activists. On Monday and Tuesday this week, lawyers, medics and a former police officer protested outside of courts in London by again displaying signs informing jurors they have the right to act according to their conscience when returning verdicts.

Bradbrook’s own experience began on May 11th 2021 when four Met officers raided her home in Stroud, Gloucestershire, at 5:30am, led her away in handcuffs and detained her for several hours “on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage to a number of banks and encouragement to defraud financial institutions” (see appendix for details)

A phone and laptop were confiscated, and private papers seized, by police who claimed the co-founder of XR had played a leading role in a campaign of civil disobedience and criminal damage against financial institutions, including Barclays and HSBC, who are bankrolling the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.  

Last week, Bradbrook received a letter from the Met saying they were dropping the charges against her due to lack of evidence. Her laptop, phone and papers were kept by police for the entire two-year investigation.

“I found it all very odd and believe that the arrest, along with the handcuffing, were designed to intimidate me and other climate activists,” says Bradbrook.

“The police implied I was trying to bring down the financial system, which I have to admit I found hilarious. I pointed out it was doing a good job bringing itself down – even hard-nosed capitalists admit that the finance system needs a stable climate [2] and the life support systems of the earth are close to tipping into new unstable states [3].

“This is due to the trillions that banks and hedge funds pour into fossil fuels and other planet wrecking projects [4]. Our actions were designed to bring awareness to this fact, and we did this successfully we believe.’

“In my interview in the police cells I asked the police, in the light of PPI mis-selling and fraud, LIBOR rigging, the FINCEN Files, LUXLEAKS and Panama Papers, how many bankers they had recently arrested, given I simply owed Barclays Bank £70 on a credit card. I thought they looked a bit embarrassed.”

Bradbrook compares her “heavy-handed and pointless” treatment to the lack of response by the Met after she and other members of legal lobbying group Climate Genocide Act Now delivered a dossier of evidence to the force in 2019 implicating senior UK politicians in crimes of genocide.

The dossier detailed how the deaths of 400,000 people every year and the imminent annihilation of several low-lying island states are amongst a range of deadly threats to human life across the globe caused by government policies that are accelerating the climate crisis.

The Met refused to investigate evidence that the UK government had breached the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Courts, or even to seek the views of the ICC about whether a prosecution is possible. Met chiefs have refused to explain their decision not to approach the ICC.

Jem Bendell, Professor of sustainable leadership, author of Breaking Together, and member of environmental pressure group Scholars’ Warning, said: “Based on Dr Bradbrook’s experience, the British police risk being seen as a wholly owned subsidiary of the banking elite.

“It is far easier for officers to harass a woman in the middle of the night than to prosecute those arrogant bankers. Wouldn’t it be nice to see some proper British decency and courage from our law enforcers? Unless there is more organised pushback from across society, this descent into authoritarian cowardice will continue.” 

Supporting quotes

Jon Fuller, spokesperson, Climate Genocide Act Now: “CGAN has written to judges who have heard climate protest cases, informing them of The Met’s refusal to act upon UK legislation relating to genocide and crimes against humanity; and it is that intervention that has forced The Met to explain its thinking.

“A reply from the Met’s Directorate of Legal Services revealed that the force doesn’t understand the science, the certainties around the harms caused by climate breakdown, the scale of the suffering, the way attribution of responsibility is established in the legislation, the link between policy and death/suffering, the way Article 30.2(b) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court should be applied – and it refused to seek the advice of the specialists at the ICC.“The Met also revealed part of its thinking is a concern that it should not proceed against democratically elected politicians. It is clear the Met had no lawful basis for refusing to act upon the legislation. The scale of the failures in The Met’s thinking and the 3-year refusal to justify its position suggest that The Met has perverted the course of justice. It knew it should act but refused to do so.”

“If the Met had acted upon the legislation in 2019, none of the climate protests since the start of 2020 would have taken place. Government would have changed its policies and climate activists would not have been obliged to take the action they did.”

 Kevin Blowe, campaigns coordinator for the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol): “Despite police claims that they seek to ‘balance’ the human rights of protesters and the ability of companies to conduct their activities – no matter how damaging to the planet – in practice one side of the scales is always loaded against campaigners.

“Policing in Britain is never neutral. It exists to protect corporate and business interests and all the recent new anti-protest legislation lobbied for by police chiefs has been explicit about this. 

“Campaigners who seek political or social change that rejects the sustainability of the existing economic system or takes action that “causes an adverse economic impact to businesses” are categorised as a threat and are subjected to surveillance and harassment.

“That is why officers are always more comfortable with raiding a woman’s home in the middle of the night, rather than investigating and prosecuting bankers, polluters and industries fuelling the climate emergency.

“Dissent is, however, fundamental to any democratic society. The police have a legal duty not only to facilitate the right to protest, but to protect it. As long as they keep ignoring their responsibilities, the public needs to keep resisting the current descent into authoritarianism”

Kofi Mawuli Klu, a PanAfrikanist Juris Consul and Co-Founder of Stop the Maangamizi Campaign: “The actions of Gail Bradbrook and the wider work of Climate Genocide Act Now are welcomed by those of us who have long been campaigning as global south reparationists, trying to stop the prolonging of what we call Maangamizi harms of genocide and ecocide to humanity and Mother Earth. 

“The emphasis ought to be now upon making the case for the complicity of the United Kingdom and its allied governments in perpetrating crimes of genocide in the past and present, and doing so in conspiratorial collaboration with fossil fuel and other corporations and state as well as non-state actors globally. Witnesses abound for these crimes, particularly among those who consider themselves still colonised Communities of Resistance.”


[1] Report on the raid of 2021 https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-climate-activist-bradbrook-arrested-after-attacks-big-banks-2021-05-11/

[2] Examples  of articles where business declares the economy requires a liveable planet https://www2.deloitte.com/my/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/there-is-no-wealth.html and https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/11/halt-destruction-of-nature-or-risk-dead-planet-leading-businesses-warn-aoe 

[3] Climate Change- 6 tipping points likely to be crossed BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-62838627 

[4] Rainforest Action Network report on bank financing of fossil fuels https://www.ran.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/BOCC_2023_vF-05-08.pdf 

[5] Gail’s trial in July 2023 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-64044348 

[6] https://www.stopecocide.earth/conscientious-protectors/ 

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/feb/07/insulate-britain-activist-david-nixon-jailed-for-eight-weeks-for-contempt-of-court and https://www.itv.com/news/london/2023-03-03/insulate-britain-protesters-jailed-after-flouting-court-order-at-trial 



Dr Gail Bradbrook, dob 30/04/1972 Dr Bradbrook has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage to a number of banks and encouragement to defraud financial institutions by means of encouraging credit card fraud. Dr Bradbrook is believed to have a leading role in both “Extinction Rebellion” and its offshoot “Money Rebellion.” Money Rebellion has advocated civil disobedience against financial institutions – primarily Barclays Bank and HSBC – including causing criminal damage to their property. On 30th March 2021 Dr Bradbrook was arrested and charged having been filmed using tools to break glass at the front of Barclays Bank in Stroud. Similar actions were replication in Wells, Cambridge and the City of London a day later, the 1st April. On 7th April damage was caused to the front of Barclays Bank in Canary Wharf, London. On 13th April a similar form of damage was caused to Barclays Bank in Norwich. On 22nd April similar damage was caused to HSBC in Canary Wharf, London. This is estimated to have caused loss in the region of half-a-million to one million pounds. Dr Bradbrook is suspected to be a leading role in this organised action and is believed to have conspired with others, by agreement, for these incidents of criminal damage to take place. In addition to any conspiracy, Dr Bradbrook is suspected of having other inchoate liability for incidents she was not in attendance at; that is, that she encouraged others to commit such damage and/ or counselled or brought about those occurrences. Money Rebellion also advocates civil disobedience by means of ‘debt disobedience.’ One action involves encouraging others to take out credit cards – particularly from Barclays Bank – and then transferring a small amount of money to selected organisations or charities. Upon obtaining the card, the ‘disobedience’ would involve an intent to either decline to repay the debt or, otherwise, breach the terms and conditions assented to; thereby making a false representation to the financial institution. It appears that Money Rebellion’s – and Dr Bradbrook’s – intention is for this to be replicated en masse, thereby causing wider disruption and loss to the financial institutions. Electronic items, notebooks and bank cards have been seized from Dr Bradbrook as part of this investigation.

Additional detail: UK government and climate genocide

Dr Bradbrook is a member of Climate Genocide Act Now, an organisation that sought a criminal investigation by The Met Police into crimes against humanity and genocide committed by senior UK politicians.

In 2019 a detailed dossier of evidence was submitted to The Met noting the 400,000 people killed a year by climate breakdown, the commencement of the annihilation of several low-lying island states and the range of other harms as detailed in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Key to the case was Article 30.2(b) of the legislation that referred to crimes of ‘oblique’ intent (which applies with regard to the policies that kill by driving climate breakdown). The Met refused to act upon the legislation and refused to explain its thinking. In 2021 and again in 2022 evidence emerged that suggested the International Criminal Court accepted Article 30.2(b) could be used in climate breakdown cases. The Met has repeatedly been asked to seek the views of the ICC but it appears to have refused to do so.

Photo credits- above (CGAN)- none needed; Gail Bradbrook – IDM Südtirol 

About Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

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