London Marathon 2023: Organisers receive ‘unique’ assurances over planned protests

TCS London Marathon
Date: Sunday, 23 April Times: 09:15 BST wheelchair races, 09:25 elite women, 10:00 elite men and masses
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app from 08:30 with coverage of the finish line on digital services until 18:00

London Marathon’s race director has received “unique” assurances from Extinction Rebellion over Sunday’s planned protest, while talks are due to take place with Just Stop Oil members.

Hugh Brasher said positive discussions with Extinction Rebellion had taken place in recent months.

But he admitted he did not know whether Just Stop Oil would adopt a similar position before a meeting on Wednesday.

Brasher added mitigation measures were in place, should they be required.

On the agreement reached with climate activists Extinction Rebellion, set to stage a Parliament Square protest named ‘The Big One’ over the weekend, Brasher said: “They will be uniquely asking all their participants to help guard the London Marathon.

“To do something that is quite unique in their history, to protect what is one of the crown jewels of British sport.”

He added: “The environment is enormously important, it is part of our DNA. We are reaching out to all parties because we run together – for charity, to celebrate humanity, for our communities, and we run together in peace.

“We really hope for an amazing weekend when the true goodness of humanity shines through.”A protester wearing a T-shirt apparently in support of Just Stop Oil halted play at the World Snooker Championship on Monday after climbing on to a table and covering it in orange powder.

It was the latest sporting event to be disrupted, after Saturday’s Grand National was delayed by animal rights activists.

I hope they will give the same assurances,” Brasher said, prior to meeting with Just Stop Oil. “I will be asking them to help protect the marathon because of the good it does in society.

“Just Stop Oil are specifically targeting sporting events. I don’t know what they are going to say. In the meantime, we’re putting in other mitigation measures. But it’s very difficult over 26.2 miles.”

More than 45,000 runners are expected to take part in Sunday’s race around London, which raised more than £58m for charities in 2022.

Tamil Tiger in 2009, Extinction Rebellion in 2019 and, last year, Just Stop Oil, have all previously held protests on or around marathon day.

“We mitigate for disruption,” said Brasher. “With all security issues, we do not say what we are doing but we have a raft of additional mitigation measures.”

He added: “Extinction Rebellion have been very clear about what they are doing and why. I hope Just Stop Oil and the other organisations listen to what we are saying.”

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