Four armed police officers told a family of climate crisis protesters they could not sit in Chequers on Friday (July 23).
Four police officers armed with heavy-duty weapons approached a group containing two young children and grandparents refusing to let them sit in the shade on a hot summer's day.
The protest group visited the famous venue moved by footage of the recent floods in Germany and China, and the ‘heat dome’ in Canada.
Knowing the Prime Minister Boris Johnson was isolating at the grand country home at the time, the family group designed a banner encouraging Mr Johnson to ‘stop investing in fossil fuels’.
The group also had Extinction Rebellion flags in their possession. They claim within 10 minutes of entering the estate they were approached by two armed officers. The group claims due to feeling intimidated they packed away their flags and banner and moved further down the footpath.
It is when the group stopped for picnic lunch they were moved on by four armed officers.
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson had the following assessment of the incident, saying: "Due to the security arrangements in place at Chequers, the majority of Thames Valley Police officers stationed there are armed, therefore when officers at the site engage with members of the public, there is a strong likelihood that these officers will be carrying firearms.
“Permissive footpaths are in place at Chequers. That means that while members of the public can walk along the footpaths, it is prohibited for them to stop on grass verges there, for example to have a picnic or to protest. If members of the public are found doing this, they could be asked to move, and if they refuse to do this, they may face arrest.
“Designated protest points are in place at locations around the Chequers estate, and as such people are asked to gather there if they wish to carry out a protest.”
The father of the two young children, aged seven and four, said: "I just can’t believe the police brought four machine guns to us, when we had two young children.
"The officers stood questioning us, with their fingers on the triggers. It was terrifying. This is how the police behave with the powers they have right now, what’s it going to be like if the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is passed?”
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson advised that it is incorrect to call the weapons machine guns, as the police don't carry those types of weapons.