- Climate change activists have caused chaos across London this week as they demand greater action from the British government on the “ecological and climate emergency.”
- Thousands of people have protested across the UK’s capital with Extinction Rebellion occupying four major landmarks, as well as interrupting public transport, vandalizing the headquarters of oil giant Shell, and covering the city in art.
- The group says it is taking part in “nonviolent civil disobedience” in an attempt to motivate the government to work to minimise “the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.”
- 340 people were arrested between Monday and Wednesday evening, as protestors of all ages vowed to continue demonstrating.
Climate change protestors have caused a week of chaos London as they block major roads, cripple public transport, and glue themselves to trains to demand political action.
340 people were arrested between Monday and Wednesday evening as part of protests organised by Extinction Rebellion, which is organising mass demonstrations over what it sees as the failure to tackle the causes of climate change, and to draw attention to an “ecological and climate emergency.”
Protests began in the British capital on Monday, and have brought thousands of people to the streets to march and block access to major landmarks, leading to the vandalization of oil company Shell’s headquarters and the blanketing of the city in protest signs and artworks.
Extinction Rebellion is demanding that the government “tell the truth” about the scale of the climate change crisis and is asking that the UK introduce legally binding policies that will bring the UK’s carbon emissions to zero by 2025.
It also wants a Citizens’ Assembly that can “oversee the changes” needed to enforce these policies.
The group says that it is using “nonviolent civil disobedience” in order to “achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.”
The protestors are made up of every generation, from teenagers to retirees.
The group has targeted four popular London landmarks: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Square, Waterloo Bridge, and Marble Arch.
The group says it has “held” all of these locations throughout the week, where speeches and musical performances are taking place, even as the police periodically arrest people.
Protestors have also covered these locations in art, including turning Waterloo Bridge into a temporary garden with a skate park.
Public transport systems have also been a target, as they create roadblocks around the city. Activists climbed on top of a train at London’s Canary Wharf station on Wednesday, leading to three arrests.
Protestors glued themselves to the roof of a train, and others glued themselves together outside the home of opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The protests have caused disruption for commuters. Police Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said that 55 bus routes were shut on Tuesday, affecting around 500,000 people.
Extinction Rebellion said it was creating “the pause,” in which it works to “create moments in time when humanity stops and fully considers the extent of the harm we have done and are doing to life on earth.”
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, told Sky News that he wanted to protestors to “please work with the police, please work with TfL (London’s travel authority), to make sure you minimise disruption caused to those trying to get about their business in our city.”
Some footage shared on social media shows a positive relationship between police and protestors, including one that shows them singing and dancing together.
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The group hopes that its numbers will be bolstered as people have days off from work over the Easter weekend.
The UK-based Extinction Rebellion has become an international movement, with protests also taking place in New York, Sweden, Austria, Canada, Germany, and France this week, though on a smaller scale.
More than 60 people were arrested at a climate change demonstration organised by Extinction Rebellion at New York’s City Hall on Wednesday.
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