Climate change protestors have threatened to use police as “target practice” after sharing security information on where hundreds of officers are staying during COP26.
A Sunday Mail investigation has uncovered group chats between demonstrators heading to Scotland intent on inciting violence.
The messages, on an encrypted messaging service used by terrorists and organised crime groups, show that as well as theatening police, they are willing to take part in risky protests against financial intitutions and the oil industry.
We were able to access the secure network on messaging app Telegram via a link on Extinction Rebellion Scotland’s website.
Protestors, many calling themselves “rebels” and linked to other protest groups, outlined their agenda for chaos as they:
● Disclosed the name of a city hotel where 100 police officers were staying
● Suggested using them for “target practice” before the summit starts today
● Planned direct action, which they called “risky” and “spicy”, to get arrested
● Set up an illegal “occupation” in Pollok Country Park.
Almost all of those involved from around the world – as far afield as Sweden and South Korea – said they wanted to be arrested, calling it “sacrificial action”.
One explicit post, which set out the name of a hotel where 100 Metropolitan Police officers from London were staying, said: “If anybody wants some target practice ahead of Cop26 to dull their spirits.”
Another member, from a group called the Scientist Rebellion, called for “sacrificial action”, adding: “We strongly believe we need serious, sacrificial action from scientists that conveys just how serious the crisis truly is.
“If those who understand the crisis best are unwilling to make personal sacrifices, how can we expect the general public to do so?”
Earlier this month, a group of MPs and faith leaders sent a letter to Telegram which urged it to take action after a report by campaign group Hope Not Hate said it was the “app of choice” for racists and violent extremists.
It added that the forum was a hub for conspiracy movements and extreme right-wing views.
In 2019, accounts for terror groups Isis and al-Qaeda
disappeared from the app after a crackdown. Telegram says its messages are heavily encrypted and can self-destruct.
Up to 10,000 police officers are involved in the major security operation for Cop26 and will work alongside special forces such as the SAS and intelligence services.
They will protect more than 120 world leaders and 20,000 delegates who are in Glasgow at the SEC to address climate change.
A massive protest, featuring up to 100,000 people, is being planned for the city centre next Saturday.
Previous estimates have suggested around 300 arrests could be made every day of the two week event.
Scottish Labour’s Justice spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said: “The suggestion of violence against serving police officers is beyond the pale.”
The Metropolitan Police declined to comment about the direct threat to their officers.
But Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable, Bernard Higgins, said: “The safety and security of officers and staff is a priority for us.
“We will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter-protest at Cop26, balanced against the rights of the wider community.”
Plans for the unauthorised campsite at Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park have even been described by Extinction Rebellion as an “occupation”.
Hundreds are expected to pitch tents as most of the city’s accommodation is full.
Extinction Rebellion said: “Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent movement, all of our planned actions will be non-violent.”