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Extinction Rebellion protests – live: Activists glue themselves to top banks in ‘shut down’ of London’s financial district

Follow all the latest updates on Extinction Rebellion

Andy Gregory
Monday 14 October 2019 17:20 BST
Extinction Rebellion 'shuts down' London's financial hub

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Extinction Rebellion is targeting London’s financial hub, with hundreds of activists blocking streets around the City of London in an effort to cause “maximum disruption” as the climate change protests moved into their second week.

Flouting police instructions to stay within Trafalgar Square, demonstrators glued themselves to the Walkie Talkie building, Barclays Bank, BlackRock and BAE systems while highlighting the impact that the sector’s investment in fossil fuels, intensive farming and logging is having upon the environment and the Global South.

Ahead of the Queen’s speech, the protest group projected Greta Thunberg’s incendiary UN speech on to the Houses of Parliament on Sunday night.

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load.


Hello and welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of Extinction Rebellion's protests.

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 10:21

Hundreds of protesters are kicking off the second week of protests by blocking the Bank junction in the City of London.

The group said nine of the world's top fossil fuel investors in the past three years have headquarters in the City.


Andrew Medhurst, a former City worker now part of Extinction Rebellion, said: “I decided to give up a thirty year career in financial services because I could no longer ignore the climate and ecological emergency.

“I held senior positions managing risk at both HSBC and Lloyds Bank and I know that banks would never take the level of risk that the UK government appears willing to take with the safety of its citizens and the futures of our children and grandchildren.”

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 10:33

While at the most recent count, the Met had made 1,309 arrests, this is likely to have already increased.

Police have been warning protesters individually they will be arrested under a Section 40 order for obstructing traffic if they do not leave the area.

While activists carrying drums and a woman with a megaphone were led away by officers to cheers from the crowd, hundreds remain at the crossroads waving Extinction Rebellion flags and chanting "Extinction Rebellion" and "power to the people".

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 10:44

On the eve of the Queen's speech, the group projected Greta Thunberg's thundering UN address onto parliament, dubbing it "The Emergency Queen’s Speech".

“It’s fitting to project Greta Thunberg on to the Houses of Parliament as it’s been six months since a climate and environmental emergency was declared and since then the government has done nothing," said Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Ronan Harrington.

"The Queen’s Speech outlines the government’s objectives for the year, and these have to reflect the emergency that we’re in. We understand the environment is mentioned in one of twenty two bills. That’s not how you act in an emergency.

"The symbolic contrast between sixteen year old teenager and ninety three year old woman are shows the generational gulf in understanding of this crisis”.

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 10:52

Protesters at London's Bank junction have been pictured reading homemade newspapers called The Twaddle and Daily Denial, featuring the headlines "Ignorance is bliss", and "Greenland to be sold to highest bidder".

The group accused the Mail on Sunday of trying to shame members of the group "for asking for the basic funds to live and support themselves" after the weekly paper ran a story about members being paid up to £400 a week.

"It is no secret that people claim expenses within Extinction Rebellion, in fact, we are actively open about this via our website," the group said in a statement. "This movement takes pride in being open, honest and transparent. We don’t hide our sources of funding. We own our actions and hold our hands up high.

"These expenses allow people to commit themselves to Extinction Rebellion to do so in a sustainable way, without being depleted financially, plus also ensuring that it is not just those in more comfortable financial situations who can contribute."

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 11:18

Activists dressed as canaries have reportedly superglued themselves to London's Walkie Talkie building, which houses some the UK's largest insurance firms.

Two activists not clad in yellow held up a banner reading "Don't fail the canaries".

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 11:26

Dystopian novelist Margaret Atwood is getting involved, brandishing an Extinction Rebellion logo sticker as she sits down to record a podcast with the group.

Ms Atwood has previously voiced support for the movement, telling the Evening Standard they are "moving the needle, and you’d have to be an idiot as a politician to not recognise that”.

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 11:48

XR co-founder Roger Hallam is to appear at Isleworth Crown Court court today following his arrest during the Heathrow drone protest.

37 other activists are due to go on trial this week, according to the group.

Among those with trials and hearings this week are reportedly a 71-year-old retired GP, a retired social worker, retired primary school head, former paratrooper, IT consultant and Instagram "influencer".

Here's more on Mr Hallam's arrest: 

On Saturday, almost 400 scientists endorsed a civil disobedience campaign aimed at forcing governments to take rapid action to tackle climate change, warning that failure could inflict “incalculable human suffering”.

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 11:52

Rabbis and people of the Jewish faith are on their way to Bank where they will hold a service with protesters.

Jeffrey Newman, a practising Rabbi from north London, who was wearing a skullcap branded with the Extinction Rebellion symbol, said he intends to be arrested there.

The Jewish protesters are carrying signs reading "conservation is a mitzvah" (meaning "religious duty").

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 12:08

The Queen has set out the government's environmental aims in her speech, saying: "We will protect and improve the environment for future generations."

The long-awaited Environment Bill includes measures to improve air quality, ensure nature is not damaged by building new homes, and make household recycling services more consistent.

The bill will include local communities having a greater say in the protection of their trees, after the controversy over the felling of street trees in Sheffield.

It will bring in a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, and charges will be introduced for specific single use plastic items, building on the carrier bag levy.

It also sets out a system for legally-binding targets on environmental protection - much of which is currently governed by EU directives - and establish a new independent regulator to enforce the laws.

Here's more from Andrew Woodcock on the Queen's speech: 

Andy Gregory14 October 2019 12:29

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