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20-year-old activist becomes first person prosecuted over Extinction Rebellion protests

Elliott Cuciurean was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to a public-order offence

A 20-YEAR-OLD climate activist today became the first person prosecuted over the wave of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations.

Elliott Cuciurean, from Cheltenham, was the youngest of four supporters of the climate change protest group who appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court, with the eldest being 70.

Mr Cuciurean was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to a public-order offence, but he avoided a fine of up to £1,000.

District Judge Devinder Sandhu sentenced him to a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 in costs to the Crown Prosecution Service and a £20 victim surcharge.

The three other protesters later appeared together to deny separate charges. They will stand trial this summer.

Outside court, Mr Cuciurean said it was “quite a relief” to avoid a fine and that he plans to rejoin the sanctioned protest at Marble Arch.

Asked what had led him to activism, he said: “Seeing the news of climate science coming to the surface and realising that we are having an incredibly damaging impact on the planet and watching nothing being done about it.”

Several thousand protesters marched from Marble Arch to Parliament Square today, encouraging MPs returning from parliamentary recess and come out to discuss climate change.

Protesters expressed suspicion over the number of low-flying police helicopters hovering over the Parliament Square demonstration.

The events remained peaceful, though several rows of police were present to stop protesters marching past Old Palace Yard.

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg spoke to around 200 MPs this afternoon in the Palace of Westminster, warning them that young people “probably don’t even have a future any more.

“That future has been sold so that a small number of people can make unimaginable amounts of money.

“It was stolen from us every time you said ‘the sky is the limit’.”

She later met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said: “It was a pleasure welcoming UK youth climate strikers and Greta Thunberg to Parliament.

“Young people will be the most affected by climate change – seeing them take charge of their future is inspiring.

“Labour is committed to working with young people campaigning to save our planet.”

Ed Miliband, who also met Ms Thunberg, tabled an urgent question in the Commons on Extinction Rebellion as protesters sat outside.

The former Labour leader tweeted: “Our politics is failing on climate change.

“We need to act with much greater urgency.”

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