Speaking to Unlocked host Martin Daubney, the Colonel condemned Extinction Rebellion protesters after they unveiled a banner reading “Honour Their Sacrifice, Climate Change Means War” at the memorial on Whitehall, in central London on Wednesday morning. He branded the act “despicable” and an “act of sacrilege and desecration” as he blasted: “There’s been enormous offence taken not just among the veterans’ community, but I think among every right-thinking person in this country and by right, I’m not talking about political rights, I’m talking about people who would make up the majority of people in this country who have respect for those who gave their life and fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
“That there’s I’ve not heard anybody I don’t think not one person have I seen which is very unusual have I seen who supports what Extinction Rebellion did yesterday at the Cenotaph.
“It was an act of sacrilege of desecration of what is effectively a hugely revered monument to our fellow countrymen, from all political perspectives, all angles, every part of society, men and women who gave their lives for our country.
“And it’s caused, I think, considerable anger and I would say particularly among former members, and no doubt serving members as well of my own Regiment, the Royal Anglian Regiment, because this man was wearing a royal Anglian Berry and his political stunt that he carried out yesterday.”
He added: “I think it’s that division they seek to create and they cite, you know, he says in his slogan on his advertising billboard that he put up on on the Cenotaph, he says, climate change means war that is conjured out of nowhere, I’ve not seen anybody show me or demonstrate to me how the two things are connected.
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“It’s simply an excuse to be able to get at the Cenotaph and it is shameful and despicable.
“And one thing I would say yes, it is spitting on the graves of our servicemen who died fighting for the country.
“But can you imagine the offence something, though, that causes to the wives, the husbands, the sons or daughters and so on, of those veterans who were killed, for example, in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Northern Ireland, who is still alive today, it’s like going up to their graves and just trampling on their graves, the horror, and the offence that would be taken, I think, by their next of kin, by their families by their friends.
“I think it’s it just really underlines his despicable act.”
Asked whether officers should have prevented the stunt, the spokesman said: “These are operational matters for the police.”
Sir Keir Starmer also criticised the campaigners for acting “in bad taste”.
A spokesman for the Labour leader said: “No one can doubt how serious the climate emergency is, but the protests at the Cenotaph are wrong.
“They are in bad taste. We do not support them.”