Dewsbury environmental protestor says he is ready for arrest

Protester Anthony Whitehouse, 67, is willing to risk arrest.
Protester Anthony Whitehouse, 67, is willing to risk arrest.

Extinction Rebellion activist Anthony Whitehouse says he is willing to risk arrest at a protest in Leeds city centre.

A number of activists said they were willing to risk arrest rather than be forced to move during their week-long protests.

Activists are protesting against investment into the fossil fuel industry and urge Leeds Council and the government to do more to stop climate change.

Anthony, 67, has travelled to the protests from Dewsbury every day.

He said: “I don’t think young people should be getting arrested, but I absolutely would.

“I’m well established, I don’t have anything to protect job or career-wise.

“I quite like it! I would actually get myself slung in the nick, rather than pay a fine.

“The only way to make real change is if a small number of people put their necks on the line and are committed enough to push the system hard. Extinction Rebellion has a philosophy of direct action to the point of arrest, but they’re very supportive of people who get arrested and they are concerned that people don’t jeopardise their lives.

“It is sad to be causing so much disruption, but it is necessary.”

West Yorkshire Police are monitoring the protests and officers have cancelled their rest days to police the protests.

There have been no arrests so far.

A police spokesman said: “West Yorkshire Police has deployed a proportionate number of officers to manage the protest based on assessment of potential disruption it could cause.

“Resources have been kept under review as the week has progressed.

“We have continued to work with partners to effectively manage people’s right to lawful protest, balanced with the rights and freedoms of others, and to minimise the impact on the local communities, businesses and the general public.”