19 | MAY | 2019
Thousands block London roads to demand action on climate change
A climate change activist demonstrates at Oxford Circus during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain - Photo: Peter Nicholls/REUTERS

Thousands block London roads to demand action on climate change

16/04/2019
14:42
Reuters
London
Andrew R.C. Marshall & Andrew MacAskill
-A +A
Thousands of environmental activists paralyzed parts of central London by blocking Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, and Waterloo Bridge in a bid to force the government to do more to tackle climate change

Thousands of environmental activists paralyzed parts of central London on Monday by blocking Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, and Waterloo Bridge in a bid to force the government to do more to tackle climate change.

Under sunny skies, activists sang songs or held signs that read “There is no Planet B” and “Extinction is Forever” at some of the capital’s most iconic locations. Roadblocks were due to continue night and day at each site and the demonstrators said the protests could last at least a week.

The protests are being led by the British climate group Extinction Rebellion and are to involve demonstrations in 33 countries around the world over the coming days.

Extinction Rebellion, which generated headlines with a semi-nude protest in Britain’s parliament earlier this month, has warned its members that some of them could be arrested for taking part in non-violent civil disobedience.

The group is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and create a citizen’s assembly of members of the public to lead on decisions to address climate change.

At the Shell building near the River Thames, 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.

Activists said they smashed the glass of a revolving door and caused more than GBP £6,000 (USD$7,900) worth of damage. The organizers said five people had been arrested for criminal damage.

At Oxford Circus, protesters unveiled a pink boat that says “TELL THE TRUTH” and on Waterloo Bridge demonstrators brought trees, hanging baskets and skate ramps.

Extinction Rebellion wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday outlining their demands and asking for face-to-face talks, warning that they will escalate their disruptive actions over the coming weeks unless the government acts.

“Make no mistake, people are already dying,” the letter states. “In the majority world, indigenous communities are now on the brink of extinction. This crisis is only going to get worse ... Prime minister, you cannot ignore this crisis any longer. We must act now.”

Organizers of the protests circulated legal advice to anyone planning to attend, requesting they refrain from using drugs and alcohol, and asking them to treat the public with respect.

The disruption follows similar action last November when thousands of protesters occupied five central London bridges. Police arrested 85 people that day.

Police have arrested 209 people in two days of protests after climate-change activists blocked some of London’s most important junctions causing traffic chaos.

More than a dozen activists had been arrested at Waterloo Bridge near parliament by lunchtime on Tuesday.

Others were sitting in the road with linked arms, chanting at the police “Rebellion! Rebellion!” and “We are peaceful! What about you?

Five arrests were for criminal damage after the Royal Dutch Shell building near the River Thames was targeted on Monday.

sg

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