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Police shut off London underground Wi-Fi to combat protests

Police shut off Wi-Fi access in station across the London underground network on Wednesday (17.04.19).

The move - which prompted complaints from commuters left without internet access - came as reaction to the third day of planned disruption from the Extinction Rebellion group of climate change protesters.

A spokesperson for British Transport Police told The Verge: "In the interests of safety and to prevent and deter serious disruption to the London Underground network, British Transport Police has taken the decision to restrict passenger Wi-Fi connectivity at Tube stations.

"This follows intelligence that Extinction Rebellion protesters intend to cause disruption to Tube services during Wednesday 17 April."

Although internet access is not available within the tunnels of the rail system, Virgin Media provides access via Wi-Fi on hundreds of stations and on underground platforms.

The Extinction Rebellion group has seen more than 300 of its protesters arrested in London this week after targeting main roads, stations and bridges in a bid to raise public awareness for their calls for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

The police's decision to shut off Wi-Fi was seen as an attempt to stop the group from organising and coordinating its protest.

A Virgin Media spokesperson added: "Earlier today the British Transport Police instructed that the public Wi-Fi network on the London Underground be temporarily switched off. Connectivity will be restored as soon as possible."

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