E Environment

Extinction Rebellion block London roads in protest over climate crisis

Credits | Cover Photo: Jason Peper | Video Clip: @amateurscotsman

Climate activists held a major civil disobedience in central London today blocking five of the capital’s busiest roads - Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square.

Extinction Rebellion organised the protest, operating around the clock for at least 72 hours, with the expectation thousands will descend on the streets of London.

The group are protesting the inaction taken by Governments towards the “Ecological and Climate Emergency”, attracting support in at least 80 cities, across 30 countries.

Protests are likely to continue for the rest of the week; the group are planning to “bring London to a standstill for up to two weeks” with the disruption escalating “day by day”.

Last October, members of the group held their first mass protest in London; since they have super-glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace, protested semi-naked in Parliament and poured fake blood outside Downing Street.

The environmental activists have created an international movement, with groups assembling from Australia to South Africa, aiming to use “non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change.”

In the UK, they are demanding the Government to “tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency”, act immediately to reach net zero emissions by 2025 and create a Citizens’ Assembly for the UK to “navigate through this crisis”.

The protestors cite the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated we needed a radical change in the way we live within 12 years to limit climate change, as a key motivator. Six months since this verdict, Extinction Rebellion believe globally governments are “still failing to act” on this issue.

Many of the activists are willing to get arrested during the demonstration, with reports three men have been arrested thus far. A previous protest in November ended with 85 people being arrested.

Earlier this afternoon (Monday), protests turned unrestrained with Shell’s headquarters being targeted. Images from the scene, show the entrance glass door being smashed and windows being vandalised with graffiti of their logo and “Shell knew”. 

At other locations, activists sang songs and held signs reading “There is no Planet B” and “Extinction is forever”. While in Oxford Circus, protesters had a pink boat with “Tell the truth” on it and on Waterloo Bridge trees and hanging baskets were brought.

One demonstrator, Diana McCann, said she realised “signing petitions and writing letters was not going to be enough. Real action is needed."

Two student protesters on Parliament Square, Niki Shahab and Imogen Gaskell, expressed their concerns and said politicians have been too preoccupied with Brexit.

"It is an emergency, it’s going to affect everyone, people don’t realize how important climate change is. In the UK for example, floodings are going to increase, and abroad it will fuel more refugee crises," Gaskell said, “We’ve been focusing on Brexit for the last two years, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what your political views are, climate change will affect every one of us."

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