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Extinction Rebellion protesters ejected after Ascot demonstration aimed at Queen

Climate change protesters chained themselves to running railings at Ascot in a protest echoing a seminal moment in the fight for suffrage.

The four women, dressed as catering staff, unfurled a banner with the slogan ‘Racing to Extinction’ after the finish to the Chesham Stake, in which Reach For The Moon was second for the Queen.

The Extinction Rebellion activists aimed the protest at the Queen, who arrived at the Berkshire racing meet earlier that day.

It is unknown if Her Majesty witnessed the action that paid homage to Emily Davison, who died attempting to attach a flag to the King’s horse during the Epsom Derby in 1913.

Security rushed over to remove the banner only to find the women glued to it and shackled to the railing, prompting a screen to be erected while they were untethered.

The protesters shackled themselves to a rail

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 Racing Post reported.

One of the protesters, Sam Smithson, 38, said: “I’m really sorry to be disrupting this event, but unfortunately, like suffragette Emily Davison, we have been left with no other choice, as we are running out of time in the race to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

“We can’t negotiate with each other or nature for more time by carbon offsetting, whilst also promoting infinite growth on a finite planet and chopping down our ancient woodlands.”

In a statement released after the protest, Extinction Rebellion said it had been started 15 minutes before the next race to avoid any injury to jockeys or horses.

Security hauled the Extinction Rebellion members away
Security hauled women away from the venue which the Queen was attending

The campaign group wants the Queen to use her influence to make an emergency speech to parliament and her citizens, “urging them to tell the truth and act now on the climate and ecological emergency”.

They have also urged the monarch to pressure Boris Johnson to take more action to tackle climate change.

Another of the protesters, Sally Davidson, 33, said: “The Queen has a unique position in the Commonwealth and direct access to the government and Prime Minister.

“She can encourage them to take action on the climate and ecological emergency, rather than just pay lip service to it.

The protest was aimed at the Queen, who visited Ascot today
The campaign group wants the Queen to use her influence to make an emergency speech to parliament

“Two years ago, Parliament declared a climate emergency and in 2015 they signed the Paris Agreement.

“Despite this, during the pandemic alone, they have invested more in fossil fuels than previous years.”

The Queen looked delighted with the performance of her horse in the first race on the final day at Royal Ascot.

Reach For The Moon, the first of her four horses running in her colours on Saturday afternoon, finished a close second during the Chesham Stakes race at 2.30pm.

The Queen's horse came second in a race this afternoon
The protest appeared to be aimed at the Queen who visited Ascot today

The monarch was not seen in the royal box during the race, opting to watch it privately, but had the chance to inspect the colt in the Parade Ring after it crossed the finish line.

In seven days Extinction Rebellion are due to hold a weekend of action highlighting what they see as the media’s failure to adequately report on climate change.

Thames Valley Police have been contacted for comment.

An Ascot spokesman said: “The incident was quickly dealt with without delay to racing.”


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