Four in custody after Extinction Rebellion protest at Ascot aimed at the Queen
Four climate change protesters were arrested and are in police custody after chaining themselves to the running rail by the winning post following the opening race on Saturday, the final day, at Royal Ascot.
The four women, dressed as catering staff, unfurled a banner with the slogan ‘Racing to Extinction’ having reached the inner running rail shortly after the finish to the Chesham Stakes, in which Reach For The Moon was second for the Queen.
Ascot security scrambled to remove the banner only to find the women shackled to the plastic railings and glued to the banner, prompting a screen to be erected while they were removed from the course.
It has been confirmed on Sunday morning by Thames Valley Police that all four protesters are in custody, with the protest causing "minimal disruption" to the afternoon.
A statement read: "Thames Valley Police is aware of a protest which took place yesterday at Ascot racecourse. Officers who were on duty at the scene were able to quickly disrupt the protest, and four people have been arrested. They are currently in police custody.
"No one at the racecourse was in any danger at any point, and the day’s events were able to continue with minimal disruption."
Nick Smith, Director of Racing & Public Affairs at Ascot, said: "It was a minor incident, quickly dealt with by the police and our own teams. It barely got noticed.
"The positive point is how quickly it was dealt with. These protesters were never intending to cause any harm, all they'd have brought on site with them was a banner. We had a plan in place and it was dealt with efficiently and with no delay."
It is understood that the female protesters, who were arrested and taken away in police vehicles, had been employed as catering staff through the week at Royal Ascot.
The protesters were later revealed to be linked to the Extinction Rebellion climate change movement, with the group’s UK arm outlining in a statement that the action had been taken to attempt to directly get the Queen, who was at Royal Ascot for the first time since 2019, to intervene in influencing environmental policy.
The women, who had earlier posted a letter to the Queen on the website change.org, were quoted in the statement apologising for the disruption but added they had "no other choice" as "we are running out of time in the race to tackle the climate and ecological emergency."
Extinction Rebellion has a history of high-profile protests, most notably when shutting down parts of central London in April 2019.
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