As it happenedended1629914455

Extinction Rebellion London protests: Demonstrators block Oxford Circus as pink table re-erected

Follow live as activists gather in the capital

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 25 August 2021 19:00
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Extinction Rebellion descend on London for day two of protests

Extinction Rebellion protesters have descended on Oxford Circus, where they blocked traffic with a giant pink table, danced peacefully and heard speeches, as climate demonstrations in London continue.

Earlier, the environmental movement gathered outside the Brazilian embassy to protest deforestation and attacks on indigenous people on the third day of its Impossible Rebellion protests in the capital, due to last for two weeks.

XR is aiming to disrupt “business as usual” in London with its latest set of demonstrations as the climate crisis unfolds.

More than 100 people have been arrested since Sunday, the day before the start of the official action.

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More images from today’s protests in central London

XR campaigners are still filling the streets of central London, waving banners, banging drums and making speeches as the third day of action by the group continues.

See some of the latest pictures below:

Tim Wyatt25 August 2021 12:17
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Protesters move on to Department for International Trade

XR protesters have now moved on to the Department for International Trade, where they have presented officials with a “Charred Earth” award.

The activists have condemned the government for pursuing future trade with Brazil, who they argue is responsible for massive deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and human rights abuses against indigenous people living there.

Tim Wyatt25 August 2021 12:27
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Trade officials given ‘Charred Earth Award'

Activists handed a “Charred Earth Award” to the Department for International Trade, during a solemn red-carpet ceremony, with the sound of cattle playing.

“The government must put environmental protection, particularly of the Amazon, front & centre of any trade talks with Brazil,” XR said.

“By treating Brazil as a friendly future trading partner the DIT is condoning deforestation, human rights abuses against Indigenous people & a climate catastrophe. It will have horrific consequences for everyone across the planet.”

Jane Dalton25 August 2021 12:47
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Farmer at Brazilian embassy protest calls for cut in soya demand

Protesters played samba music outside the Brazilian embassy and carried placards reading ‘Down with Bolsonaro’ and ‘We Stand with Brazilian Indigenous People’.

Alan Measures, 71, said he had travelled to London from Peterborough for his second XR protest.

He told The Independent: “I spent the last 30 or so years as a farmer and I’ve been looking at the issue of the Amazon rainforest and soy production for years. It is aligned with the issues faced by indigenous people.

“We in this country couldn’t use pulses or beans to substitute for the soya meals that we get and demand hasn’t gone down. I’ve lobbied the National Farmers Union and I’ve met my MP to ask questions about this.

“I would like to see something that reduces the demand in the UK for soya products.”

He said the atmosphere surrounding the protests had changed since last year and the public appeared less hostile.

He continued: “I walked here from the South Bank yesterday flying my flag. I was worried I’d have to take it down and pack it away - but it was quite reassuring how many people stopped to greet me and talk to me.

“It is very positive - a few years ago it wouldn’t have been.

“Its so mixed today. You get people from all ages and all backgrounds.”

He added: “The problem with our government is one of attitude. Our political cycle is short, politicians focus on winning elections.

“I can’t see Boris Johnson changing his attitude... we need him to be replaced.

“We need a cross-party agreement on climate change - that is all that can move us forward.”

Jane Dalton25 August 2021 12:55
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Hunger striker: ‘The planet is f***** up more badly than we imagine'

A large crowd has assembled in Piccadilly Circus and speeches have begun, reports Daniel Keane.

Martha Krumpeck, a member of extinction rebellion in Austria, told the crowd of her 30-day hunger strike in Austria in opposition to the government’s plans to build new motorways.

“I decided to go on hunger strike in Vienna to protest against climate inaction by the Austrian government... I lasted for 30 days - then the minister finally conceded and launched an evaluation on the plans to build new motorways,” she said.

“If they say they can still construct this s***, I will go on hunger strike again.

“If we don’t fight, we will be the last generation. If they want to kill us all, we can all least offer some resistance.

“Our governments are refusing to give up the old system. They are continuing to use fossil fuels.

“The planet is f***** up more badly than any of us can imagine. It is time for us to put ourselves in harm’s way.”

Jane Dalton25 August 2021 13:03
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Young climate activists urge UK and UN to act on murders of environmental defenders

Young climate activists from across the world are calling on leaders to urgently act on the killing and harassment of environmental defenders.

A record 212 environmental activists were murdered in 2019 – with preliminary analysis suggesting the situation has worsened since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Exclusive by our climate correspondent Daisy Dunne:

Young climate activists urge leaders to act on environmental defender murders

Exclusive: Activists urge Alok Sharma and Antonio Guterres to do more after a prominent environmentalist is shot dead in Kenya

Jane Dalton25 August 2021 13:18
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Chinese activist ‘terrified'

A young woman from China told crowds gathered at Piccadilly Circus that she was terrified for the future and had taken risks in standing up for climate action.

Jane Dalton25 August 2021 13:28
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XR no longer aiming for mass arrests, protester claims

XR’s tactics have shifted with their latest bout of civil disobedience, with the group no longer hoping for as many activists to be arrested as possible.

Jamie, a 22-year-old marketing intern who did not wish to give his surname, told Daniel Keane at the central London demonstration he felt the group’s approach had changed compared to last year’s protests. He has spent the day handing out leaflets to passers-by at Piccadilly Circus.

He told The Independent: “I joined XR two years ago as I realised we need to act now on climate change. I realised I’ve lived a comfortable life but this directly impacts my future survival - but it’s also killing lots of people right now.

“They’re used to be this attitude that civil disobedience - like locking yourself to the street - meant going and getting as many people arrested as possible.“

I think that more and more people in the movement feel that that’s on its way out. The police have become a lot smarter about that anyway and it also can exclude people.

“We’re still a direct action movement but we’re moving towards something a bit more motivational. I’m not against the idea of blocking roads as long as they’re government buildings or in the city of London. Occupying a space has always been part of protest in British history but it’s better when you have specific targets.”

He added: “The government, fossil fuel corporations and the media are still slightly unaware that the public is more radical than they think on the climate crisis.

“When you talk to people on the street people still feel worried about the climate. Most of our direct actions - even controversial ones - get people’s attention and shifts the agenda even if some of us get shouted at in the street.”

Tim Wyatt25 August 2021 14:25
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Demonstration has now begun to move up Regent Street

The XR protest which has been in Piccadilly Circus has now started heading back up Regent Street.

Tim Wyatt25 August 2021 14:41
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Forty women block Oxford Circus to urge climate action

Earlier, more than 40 women closed the busy road junction at Oxford Circus in central London to invite women to “come to the table” to discuss how to turn around the climate crisis.

Mirroring a similar protest earlier this week, the XR demonstrators built an oversized pink table in the middle of the road, with two empty chairs facing each other.

XR said the demonstration represented “an invitation to all those who identify as female, nonbinary or trans: the crisis is here – come and take your seat at the table and demand the urgent action needed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency”.

Activists then locked and glued themselves to the structure and to block traffic. When police officers manning the protest managed to clear the road, the phrase “Courage calls to courage everywhere” had been daubed onto the tarmac.

The phrase is a quotation from the suffragette Millicent Fawcett and is part of her own statue in Parliament Square.

Hester, a 41-year-old mother of three who took part in the protests and did not give her surname, said: “If we are to turn around this suicidal system, women all over the world must take their seat at the table.

“We are just one part of a movement for change, and we invite all women and those who identify as nonbinary, intersex or transgender to join us as we step into our collective power.”

Tim Wyatt25 August 2021 14:47

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