U.K. Arrests More Than 750 Climate Change Activists in London Protests

Activists disrupted travel through London for six straight days and are calling on the British government to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025

Police officers arrest and carry away a climate change activist from a demonstration blocking Waterloo Bridge in London, United Kingdom, April 20, 2019.
AFP

More than 750 climate change activists blocking roads at some of London's most famous landmarks have been arrested over the last six days, police said on Saturday, up from a Friday total of 682.

The protests, organized by climate group Extinction Rebellion, have for several days disrupted travel through parts of central London, including at Marble Arch and Waterloo Bridge.

The activists had also blocked the Oxford Circus shopping district, but by 5 P.M. GMT the roads had been cleared by police and traffic was flowing again.

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Climate change activists demonstrate during the Extinction Rebellion protest, at Canary Wharf DLR station in London, Britain April 17, 2019.
\ HENRY NICHOLLS/ REUTERS

Extinction Rebellion has called for non-violent civil disobedience to force the British government to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and stop what it calls a global climate crisis.

Twenty-eight of those arrested had been charged with offences, London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cresesida Dick told BBC News that the protests had caused "miserable disruption". She said there were now 1,500 police officers, up from 1,000 previously, working to clear the roads.

On Waterloo Bridge, which connects south and central London, a Reuters journalist said police had cleared away banners and obstructions like bales of hay and even a sofa.

Climate change activists are seen during an Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus in London, Britain, April 19, 2019
\ SIMON DAWSON/ REUTERS

But as of 5:20 P.M., the area was still packed with activists, who remained good-humored.

The police reiterated that protests were only allowed to continue at Marble Arch.

"I've got one message for the protesters and that is: Please, go to Marble Arch where you can protest lawfully. Stop your unlawful protest, and if you don't want to go to Marble Arch, then go home," Dick said.

On Friday, well-known actor Emma Thompson joined activists at Oxford Circus, at the heart of one of the capital's most popular shopping districts, to read poetry praising Earth's bounties.

The pink boat which climate change activists used as a central point of their encampment as they occupied the road junction at Oxford Circus in central London, United Kingdom, April 19, 2019.
AFP