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No laughing matter for police despite ‘rebellion’ sending in the clown

Performer captured in mid-air arrest praises ‘kind officers giving me hot vegan food’

A former police officer and a professional performer have helped bring the lyrics of a song made famous by Frank Sinatra in 1973 to life at a mass protest in London some 46 years later.

Isn’t it rich, are we a pair, Me here at last on the ground, and you in mid air. . .

Part of the lyrics were re-enacted by ex Met Police Detective Sergeant John Curran who joined Extinction Rebellion – and camped out overnight “on the ground” at the protests designed to compel government action on climate breakdown, 

He said he was willing to be detained again, as he was during the first round of action in April.

Mr Curran, who is father to a three-year-old daughter and now makes guitars for a living in Oxford, said: "I am willing to be arrested again unless some changes happen.

"Clearly there is some frustration (for the police) that they probably have better things to be doing, and I agree, but the responsibility for that must lie with the Government. Take action and we won't have to be here."

So “where are the clowns” as the song goes . . . send in the clowns.

Enter protester – who gave his name as Tiago – and an iconic picture which has crystalised the human and humorous face of a movement.

He was captured ‘mid air’ by a photographer in the act of being arrested.

After being released under investigation, he announced to the world he had spent 12 hours in a “cold cell” after he was held for possession of food colouring in Westminster.

But he went on to say how “nice” the Met had been to him.

“I’ve never been in that situation but they were kind,” he said.

“They gave me nice hot vegan food, a coffee and even books”.

Isn’t it rich? Not so and far from funny for frontline officers across London on a 12-hour shift pattern to allow colleagues to be moved to cover the protests.

There have already been more than 800 arrests, with an additional 500 officers being parachuted in on mutual aid duties from around the UK to help their Met colleagues.

Officers detained 319 people in the UK capital on Monday, 261 on Tuesday and a further 220 yesterday.

An Extinction Rebellion lorry, parked outside the Home Office, became a focal point for some activists who glued themselves underneath the vehicle while several hundred protesters spent Tuesday sat on either side of the police blockade at the building.

Around 80 tonnes of equipment used by protesters to set up camps in central London has been seized by police.

Officers are clearing any sites outside the pedestrian area of Trafalgar Square after restrictions were put in place to stop disruption in the capital.

They have seized so much equipment – including tents, portable toilets and generators – that it would fill eight 10-tonne lorries.

Today the activists are to begin their three-day "Hong Kong-style" occupation of London City Airport.

The protest group says its members intend to "peacefully occupy and shut down" the airport's terminal building from 9am on Thursday.

The clowns, it appears, have taken centre stage at the theatre capital.

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