Police investigate commuters who dragged Extinction Rebellion protesters off Tube train roof

The protesters were seen holding a banner reading "Business as usual = death". (PA)

The British Transport Police have announced they are investigating the commuters who pulled Extinction Rebellion protesters from the roof of a tube train earlier this week.

Officers from the BTP said they are looking to speak to a number of tube passengers over the “vigilante-style attack” at Canning Town station which saw James Mee, 35, and Mark Ovland, 36, dragged off a Jubilee Line train.

Eight XR protesters were arrested as a result of the action but British Transport Police have now confirmed that the commuters involved are also being investigated - MailOnline reports.

A BTP spokesperson told The Sun: "As officers continue to investigate the incidents at Stratford and Canning Town, anyone who witnessed what happened, or who has mobile phone footage is asked to get in touch."

Extinction Rebellion protesters on the roof of the Underground train on Thursday. (PA)

Extinction Rebellion has expressed its regret over ugly scenes in east London during Thursday’s rush hour, after an activist was dragged to the ground from the top of a Tube train.

The group acknowledged the action at Canning Town Tube station was “divisive” and said several of its members had acted “autonomously”.

But it maintained that the actions were planned within their core principles of compassion and non-violence.

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Furious commuters at the crowded station lobbed drinks at one protester before he was yanked from the train to the platform floor, much to the apparent delight of the cheering crowd.

Video shared on social media showed protesters holding a sign which read “Business as usual = death”, while the activist pulled to the floor appeared to kick out at the commuter who pulled him down.

In a statement, Extinction Rebellion said: “It is regretful that there was violence at today’s action at Canning Town tube station. We would like to express our sadness that events escalated this way.

“We are aware that one of our activists responded in self-defence in a moment of panic when confronted by a threatening situation.

“He acknowledges his accountability for this action and we offer gratitude for members of the public who helped to protect him.”

The group apologised for the disruption caused to commuters, but said the incident should not create “unnecessary division”.

British Transport Police urged members of the public not to interact with the protesters.

Acting chief constable Sean O’Callaghan said earlier this week: “It is important that commuters and other rail users allow the police, who are specially trained, to manage these incidents.”