Most likely they were trying to avoid large-scale, violent protests or damage to property. The L.A. Times refers to the group who had been infiltrated by an undercover police officer as “militant activists,” which means they probably believed the group had violent tendencies.
It has recently been decided by three senior judges that Mark Kennedy, an undercover police officer unlawfully spied on environmentalists and acted as an “agent provocateur.” Undercover mission, known as “Operation Pegasus,” had an agenda of “infiltrating extreme leftwing groups in the United Kingdom.”
There have been few details released, but at face value, Mark Kennedy was supposed to be keeping on tabs on environmentalists who may have broken into factories, damaged property, etc in extreme protest operations, but there’s much speculation that not all information on the agenda of Operation Pegasus has come to light (ie they may have had a bigger agenda than just stopping extreme protests).
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