London police have closed Wi-Fi access at some of the city's subway stations this morning in an attempt to disrupt the action of climate change protesters.
So far this week, more than 300 protesters from the Rebellion Extinction group have been arrested in the capital of the United Kingdom, targeting major roads, bridges and subway stations. The group wants the UK to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and has said that civil disobedience and mass protest are the most useful tools to raise public awareness.
On Wednesday morning, protesters made their way to the Canary Wharf station at the Docklands Light Railway in London, a light rail system on the ground. DLR is one of a series of railway systems in London, including Underground, Overground and Crossrail.
Internet access is not available within the tunnels of London tubes, although it is provided in hundreds of stations and platforms Virgin Media's Wi-Fi hotspot, this was what the police closed on Wednesday morning.
"For the sake of security and to prevent and deter a serious disruption of the London Underground network, the Transportation Police British took the decision to restrict Wi-Fi connectivity of passengers in subway stations, "said a spokesman for the British Transport Police in a statement to The Edge." From this we can deduce the intelligence that the protesters of the Rebellion Extinction will try to cause an interruption in the services of Tube during Wednesday, April 17. "
The spokesman says the closure is ongoing and will be "reviewed throughout the day." They did not say exactly what stations were affected.
Closing the Wi-Fi connection in London's underground stations is an unusual move for the British Transport Police. It is not clear to what extent it would impede the coordination of climate protesters, since the vast majority of DLR stations (the line currently targeted by the Rebellion Extinction) are on the surface and have access to mobile networks.
It is also not clear what procedures the police must follow to effect a closure. A spokesman for Virgin Media, the ISP that provides Wi-Fi in London's underground stations, said only that the company had received an instruction from the police and had to comply.
"Previously, the British Transport Police ordered that the public Wi-Fi network on the London Underground be temporarily shut down. The connectivity will be restored as soon as possible, "said the spokesman for Virgin Media.