Extinction Rebellion encouraged after police drop activist's charges

The Extinction Rebellion protest in Christchurch where Dylan Parker was arrested.
The Extinction Rebellion protest in Christchurch where Dylan Parker was arrested. Photo credit: Extinction Rebellion

Environmental activists feel encouraged after police dropped charges against an Extinction Rebellion member.

Dylan Parker was due to appear in court this week after he was arrested in October 2019 outside of the Rydges Hotel, Christchurch. He was protesting to disrupt the New Zealand Gas Forum and had hung a banner saying: "Gas is not a transition fuel".

He was charged with being found without reasonable excuse at the hotel.

Up to 30 activists were protesting the event, but Parker was the only one arrested.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Racquel Wilson told Newshub the decision to drop his charges reflects a growing change in attitudes.

"Judges are starting to actually rule that acting in defence of the climate crisis is actually a reasonable cause."

She added it's good news authorities are treating the climate crisis as a reasonable cause for civil disobedience.

"People from all walks of life are waking up and realising that they can do something," Wilson said. "The fact that they have other people standing by them doing the same thing gives them that confidence that they can stand up to the Government."

The group believes that in New Zealand, there's "responsibility" to protest because there are others around the world who don't have the same civil freedom.

"There is a lot of people around the world that don't have that safety, so it's really important for us to take on that responsibility and step up and stand in solidarity for those countries that can't."

When police were contacted as to why Parker's charges were dropped, they were unable to provide an immediate response.