Climate change protest: More than 200 arrested in London as demonstration enters second day

Activists camp out at capital’s landmarks overnight, thwarting police efforts to move them

Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 16 April 2019 22:51
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Climate group Extinction Rebellion cover Waterloo Bridge in London in second day of protests

Almost 300 people have been arrested during the second a day of climate protests in London which shut down roads in Westminster, the West End, Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge.

The demonstrations, led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion, also took place in Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.

The activists are calling for action to address the escalating global climate crisis.

In the UK the group is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency and to act to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025.

London’s Metropolitan Police said 500,000 people had been affected by Tuesday’s protests.

Activists caused serious disruption to public transport and local businesses, with 55 bus routes forced to close.

By Tuesday evening the Metropolitan Police said 290 people had been arrested in connection with the demonstrations.

Most were detained on Waterloo Bridge for Public Order Act offences.

A police spokesperson confirmed a number of further arrests had been made near Oxford Circus in central London. No further details were given.

The police force imposed a restrictive condition on Monday evening, telling protestors at Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus to leave and continue further protests at Marble Arch.

”We are taking positive action against those who are choosing to ignore this condition and are continuing to demonstrate in other areas across London,” a spokesperson said.

“Officers are out on the ground engaging with protesters and local communities to ensure proportionate policing plans are in place. There is a need to ensure the right balance is struck between allowing the right to peaceful protest, while disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.”

Tents littered the roads at Oxford Circus with some activists huddled beneath a pink boat with the words “Tell the Truth” daubed across its side. One placard read: “Rebel for Life”.

Police said five of those arrested had been detained after the Shell building near the River Thames was targeted.

The force warned that further disruption is likely to continue “throughout the coming weeks”.

On Monday protesters from the same group occupied part of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Activists unfurled banners reading: “Make ecocide law”, and formed human chains.

Dutch police later arrested 22 of the protesters.

On Tuesday demonstrators from a Canadian branch of Extinction Rebellion occupied news channel CBC Edmonton’s offices in Canada.

Meanwhile in Scotland 300 activists blocked the North Bridge road in Edinburgh.

Police officers arrested 29 people, after traffic on the busy road was brought to a standstill.

The Edinburgh protesters were joined by dozens of cyclists, who converged on the city centre, causing travel disruption.

Similar demonstrations were also held in Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen, Vienna and other cities.

In London two protesters scaled up scaffolding writing “Shell Knows!” in red paint on the front of the building and three protesters glued their hands to the revolving doors at the entrance.

Extinction Rebellion said it aimed to cause more than £6,000 of damage so they could be tried by a jury in a Crown Court.

The campaign group said many “brave rebels” had been arrested, some willingly.

Writing on Twitter, the group said: “Conventional approaches of voting, lobbying, petitions and protest have failed because powerful political and economic interests prevent change. Our strategy is therefore one of non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience – a rebellion.”

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Agencies contributed to this report

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