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UK anti-terror programme 'probes eco campaigners'

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An Extinction Rebellion protester (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

An Extinction Rebellion protester (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

An Extinction Rebellion protester (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Environmental campaigners have been referred to the UK Home Office's anti-terror 'Prevent' programme amid fears they may become radicalised, it has emerged.

Data obtained by 'The Times' newspaper under Freedom of Information laws found at least 45 activists were referred to Prevent over alleged environmental extremism between April 2016 and March last year.

The figures come at a time of increased global focus on climate change and environmental issues, with activists such as Extinction Rebellion orchestrating synchronised mass protests around the world.

The prominence of teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg has also helped raised the profile of green causes.

Allan Hogarth of Amnesty UK said the referral of environmental activists was "deeply concerning".

He said: "The government must respect the rights of those peacefully protesting."

Irish Independent