Extinction Rebellion chaos enters second day: Roads remain closed in London’s West End with activists STILL chained to giant pink table after police made 52 arrests on first day of two week climate protest
- Police made 52 arrests on the first day of a two-week Extinction Rebellion protest in London’s West End
- A huge piece of pink furniture was erected on the junction of Long Acre, St Martins Lane and Garrick Street
- Mass arrests began at 8pm yesterday after the climate group spent hours blocking traffic in the busy area
Extinction Rebellion has entered its second day of demonstrations with roads remaining closed in London’s West End and activists still chained to a giant pink table.
It comes after police made 52 arrests on the first day of a two-week climate protest which saw a huge piece of pink furniture – with the words ‘Change is Now’ and ‘Come to the table’ written on it – erected on the junction of Long Acre, St Martins Lane and Garrick Street.
This morning one of the protesters who spent the night underneath the table was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Their condition is currently unknown.
Yesterday, police finally began making mass arrests after London’s West End was paralysed for hours when demonstrators ignored repeated demands – made by loudspeaker – for them to leave the area.
Before mass arrests at 8pm, the Metropolitan police had detained just eight people, despite the fact the protest began at midday. By 10.15pm on Monday, the police said the the number of arrests had increased to 52.
The protest forced police to close several roads around the area which would normally be thronged with tourists and families sightseeing. But the force said it has been unable to remove the blockage.
A Met spokesman said: ‘We’ve been told that if we interfere with the table, it could collapse. We have to think of the safety of those there and our officers.’
Protesters camped underneath a giant pink table in central London on Monday night as Extinction Rebellion’s demonstration enters its second day
A police officer asks demonstrators to leave during a protest of Extinction Rebellion activists in London on Monday
Extinction Rebellion activists take to the streets of London to protest for the climate and ecological emergency
This morning one of the protesters who spent the night underneath the table was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Their condition is currently unknown
Where are Extinction Rebellion expected to protest?
Tuesday August 24
10am – St James Park: XR Cymru Action Protesters will meet near Cafe at Storey’s Gate, St James Park
11am – Tooley Street, London Bridge: A ‘make pensions green’ event aims to encourage pension funds to stop investing in oil and gas
4.30pm – Cavendish Square Gardens: Code Red For Fossil Fuel Fashion meet up
Wednesday August 25
10am – Brazilian Embassy: A global protest for ‘Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Rainforest’
11.30am – Piccadilly Circus: Courage Calls To Courage: Women and FINT Rebellion Action
Friday August 27
12pm – Bank of England: ‘Blood money march’ hosted by Decolonise the Economy
Saturday August 28
12.30pm – Smithfield Market: An animal rights march led by Animal Rebellion
12pm – Brixton Market: ‘Crisis’ rally
Sunday August 29
11.30am – Ducketts Common, Haringey: ‘Carnival for Climate Justice’ hosted by Extinction Rebellion Haringey
Sunday 29 to Monday August 30
West London – Imagine the impossible rally is being held in a secret location in west London. XR said scientists, doctors, families and educators will be discussing a greener world at the 48-hour event. Attendees have to join the group’s Telegram chat for any updates on the location
Monday August 30 to Friday August
The group said it will continue with its occupations and protests at various locations in London to ‘build pressure across the week to a finale’.
Saturday September 4
Nature Rebellion March and after party. Dates and locations have not yet been announced.
At 10am this morning XR Cymru Action protesters met near Cafe at Storey’s Gate in St James Park before a ‘make pensions green’ event at London Bridge at 11am.
Later this afternoon demonstrators will gather at Cavendish Square Gardens for a Code Red For Fossil Fuel Fashion meet up at 4.30pm.
On Monday, several protesters were seen being carried into police vans as crowds chanted ‘shame on you.’ A small crowd has remained under the giant table near Leicester Square tube station. Officers said that they will be confiscating the table when the protesters are finally cleared.
The group blindsided officers by converging on Trafalgar Square on Monday to begin two weeks of what they described as ‘impossible rebellion’.
The group further outsmarted officers by driving vans on two streets surrounding the Long Acre junction, before activists locked chained themselves together while lying under the vehicles’ wheels.
The Met has promised to take a harsher approach after previous Extinction Rebellion demonstrations paralysed the capital.
Officers initially tried to bring the protest to an early end by putting in place a cordon which allowed people to leave the area but not to return to it.
But this resulted in the area being occupied almost entirely by protesters, forcing the police to move some of their cordons.
Shop owners, restaurateurs and accountants have been among those to slam the selfish actions of XR activists as they shared their fury at facing further obstacles on the road to recovery after an already challenging 18-month period.
Mustafa Ahmadi, 37, who runs Star Gifts near to Leicester Square tube station, fears he could lose as much as £10,000 by the end of the week because of the climate change demo.
His gift shop is close to where thousands of XR protesters have set up a giant pink table and occupied a busy road junction in between Leicester Square and Covent Garden.
Mr Ahmadi described the protest as ‘another kick in the teeth’ for local businesses and warned the financial impact could be akin to another lockdown.
He said: ‘It’s like another lockdown because the shop is so quiet. It’s not just me but other businesses around here.
‘The police have many of the roads locked off and so the tourists and families who we would normally see are being kept out.
‘It’s another kick in the teeth. I could lose £10,000 if this carries on to the end of the week.
Thousands swarmed onto a busy road junction between Leicester Square and Covent Garden, which has now become the focal point for the XR’s two-week long climate change protest.
Commenting on the table stunt, a spokesperson said that four activists ’emerged from the truck that carried the huge object into the square and climbed onto the table’.
The group say they are now ‘preparing to stay for the long haul and occupy the square’.
The spokesperson added: ‘The table launched XR’s Impossible Rebellion, bringing the seemingly impossible to life in outlandish Extinction Rebellion style.
‘The table – packed with a number of built in lock ons, sleeping quarters and its own stereo system – was followed by thousands of marchers from Trafalgar Square who arrived to demand the impossible, many of whom were equipped with pink chairs.
Workers remove part of a large pink structure that had been used by environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion to block the junction of Long Acre and Upper St Martin’s Lane in London
Police patrol in central London where environmental activists constructed a large pink table on Monday
Protesters were pictured underneath the table this morning after spending the night chained to the structure
Environmental activists sat wearing blankets to keep warm this morning as police patrolled nearby
One man wore a suit as he joined protesters underneath the giant pink table ahead of another day of demonstrations
‘As floods, fire and famine break out around the world, it is clear that climate breakdown is here now, and there is no choice left now but to take urgent action.
‘Everyone deserves a seat at the table to have a say in how to tackle the greatest crisis of our times.’
Mr Ahmadi, whose business was shut throughout the lockdown at the start of the year, said: ‘I’m trying to cover what I lost during the Pandemic and this is not helping.
He told MailOnline: ‘They gave us no warning. Many protests come past the shop but we are always given notification. Not today, the protesters turned up just after midday and closed the area down.
‘I’ve no idea how long they plan to stick around. I hope they make their point quickly and then go. Otherwise I want the police to do their job and move them on.
‘We’ve only just re-opened after lockdown and the footfall is already down significantly since the protest began.’
Roberta Marzocca, general manger of the Pizza Pilgrims restaurant, said: ‘We were closed down completely between December and May because of lockdown, the last thing we need is to be hit financially again.
‘The police have some of the roads cordoned off but we hope customers will still come.
Police officers scramble to restrain Extinction Rebellion protesters outside HMRC on Whitehall on Tuesday
Extinction Rebellion protesters wave signs and flags in Whitehall on the second day of protests in London
A protesters is restrained by police while musicians bang drums behind him on the second day of demonstrations
‘It’s still too early to tell if we’ll be negatively affected – I really hope not.’
At around 6pm on Monday evening, the Met announced on Twitter that the protest on the junction of Long Acre Long Acre, St Martins Lane and Garrick Street had to end by 7pm.
When that was ignored, they began moving in to make mass arrests.
Four protesters who had chained themselves themselves together under the front wheel arches of an open top van, which had been parked nearby on Garrick Street, finally began to be removed by officers.
Another two protesters had earlier climbed on top of the van waving XR flags as police watched on.
At around 6pm, officers moved in and arrested four protesters who had fixed themselves to another van parked on St Martins Lane, near the Noel Coward Theatre.
Police officers, specially trained to work at heights and to separate people who chain or lock themselves together, were brought in from neighbouring Thames Valley Police but also from as far afield as Merseyside.
Police have pledged to take a more robust approach to Extinction Rebellion protesters to stop them from paralysing London as they did two years ago.
Activists form the climate change awareness group have set up a giant pink table in the middle of the West End and a crowd of thousands has gathered around it, bringing a bustling part of the city between Leicester Square and Covent Garden to a standstill.
But a senior officer at the scene told MailOnline the protesters would not be allowed to occupy the area for days on end like they did during the last summer protests in 2019.
There were no demonstrations last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic but two years ago, XR protesters brought in a pink boat and put it in the middle of Oxford Circus where they remained for a fortnight.
The officer said: ‘You saw the chaos Extinction Rebellion caused during their summer protest in 2019 and how the Met was criticised for not doing enough to stop it.
‘That won’t be allowed to happen again.
‘The protesters who have set up the pink table want to remain in the area for a considerable amount of time, potentially days, but we have teams ready to move them on.
‘Some protesters have chained themselves under a vehicle but we have teams ready to react to that too.
‘They took us by surprise today, we didn’t know they were planning on pitching up here until they put the giant table structure up. Precautions had been put in place in other parts of London but this was unexpected.
‘We now hope they move on, we are not anticipating violence as this is civil disobedience rather than anything more sinister.
‘It’s also just the start of two weeks worth of protests and nobody wants to get arrested so early on.
‘But when the time comes – most likely later today – the protesters will be cleared from the area because we also have a duty to those business owners whose trade may be affected negatively due to this protest.’
Police finally began making mass arrests on Monday evening after London’s West End was paralysed for hours by Extinction Rebellion protesters who had erected a giant pink table in the middle of the road
Officers moved in after demonstrators ignored repeated demands – made by loudspeaker – for them to leave the area
Until they began making mass arrests at 8pm, the Metropolitan police had detained just eight people, despite the fact that the protest began at midday. Above: Police remove a demonstrator from the Long Acre and Upper St Martin’s Lane junction
Several protesters were seen being carried into police vans as crowds chanted ‘shame on you’
Police make arrests at the Extinction Rebellion protest on the junction of Long Acre, St Martins Lane and Garrick Street
Officers responded after protesters erected a huge piece of pink furniture – which had the words ‘Change is Now’ written on it – on the junction of Long Acre, St Martins Lane and Garrick Street
Pictures showed officers making mass arrests after protesters ignored a directive that they had to disperse by 7pm
This man was seen with a smile on his face as he was carried away by three officers during the protest in the West End
Another man who was being arrested lay limply, meaning five officers were needed to support him as he was carried away
This woman was seen having her head supported by a female officer as she was removed from her position at the protest
Protesters block the junction of Long Acre and Upper St Martin’s Lane with a large pink structure with ‘Come to the Table’ written on it
Extinction Rebellion protestors link arms under a van on Garrick Street, London during their demonstration this afternoon
A topless Extinction Rebellion demonstrator in central London holds a cardboard placard imploring people to help reverse the effects of climate change
Extinction Rebellion climate activists install a giant table during a protest, in central London on Monday
One of the protesters who had chained herself to the van said she was called ‘Rosie’ and had travelled to London from the Midlands.
She locked herself in place just after midday and did not know any of the other protesters doing the same.
She said: ‘I am doing this in solidarity with all those who have lost lives, lost homes and lost livelihoods due to the effects of climate change.
‘This is for those who had suffered from the horrendous floods and wildfires, for those people on small island nations which are at risk of being lost to the sea.
‘The rational response is to do something about this – to do what we can. I’ve no idea if this is going to work but I have to try and do something. It’s no good just burying my head.
‘My mood is one of determination, I want to stay here under the van for as long as possible, for as long as it takes.’
The crowd had earlier meandered through the West End, past theatres, from Trafalgar Square where the protest had begun just after 10am.
Samba bands banged drums and blew whistles and protesters chanted slogans under the watchful gaze of hundreds of police officers, who are attempting to stop London from being paralysed as in previous years.
However, frustrated motorists in vans and lorries brought to a standstill vented their anger at being caught up in the traffic nightmare.
One refrigerator repairman fumed: ‘It’s hard enough getting through London at the best of times let alone when people are blocking the road.
‘I get that they are protesting but I’m trying to get to work and so are many other people. It’s not on’
Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of the activist group, opened the ‘Impossible Rebellion’ with a speech expressing solidarity with nations that are disproportionately affected by climate change.
Campaigners held placards with messages including ‘Code red, where’s the action’ while four people were dressed as the sea in a warning over rising sea levels.
The demonstration signals the start of a fortnight’s action by Extinction Rebellion (XR), who are staging various protests across the capital.
A small group of activists started early Sunday, with three of them scaling the Guildhall in the City and daubing red paint onto the building and unfurling a banner proclaiming ‘co-liberation freedom together’ in front of a crowd of supporters. Nine people were later arrested.
Both the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police were on high alert for similar stunts on Monday with officers patrolling outside high-risk buildings like St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Stock Exchange.
XR organisers had asked supporters to gather at Trafalgar Square for 10am on Monday.
A large group – made up of three separate Samba bands – had met in St James’ Park, just behind Downing Street, an hour beforehand under the watchful gaze of the police.
They were given an escort to Trafalgar Square, holding up traffic for ten minutes and prompting irritated motorists to honk their car horns in frustration.
Two Metropolitan Police helicopters hovered overhead monitoring the crowd below.
After an hour in the square – where some of the 1,000 gathered listened to speeches on climate change -they began to march once more and again block the road.
Some had banners which read ‘Code Red for Humanity’ and ‘Rebel for Life’ while many others waved colourful flags bearing the XR hourglass symbol.
Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook is branded a hypocrite after revealing she drives a DIESEL car instead of an electric vehicle
The founder of radical climate activist group Extinction Rebellion has admitted that she drives a diesel car.
Dr Gail Bradbrook, 49, who helped to set up the protest group in 2018, made the revelation in an angry interview with TalkRadio presenter Cristo Foufas on Monday.
After revealing that she drives a car, she admitted that she does not own an electric vehicle because she cannot afford one.
When pressed further by Foufas about what type of car it was, she admitted it is powered by diesel, which is considered by experts to be even more harmful to the environment than petrol.
She said that she needs the car to take her children to football and rugby fixtures because her home is not served by ‘buses that run on a Sunday.’
XR activist Jenn Parkhouse, 55, was part of a group who had travelled into London from Norwich.
She told MailOnline: ‘We now run out of time, there must be no more dilly dallying around.
‘The Government must now stop all fossil fuel investment – and that goes to the banks, particularly U.S banks who are massive offenders and have invested trillions of dollars into fossil fuels despite signing up to the 2015 Paris agreement.
‘The time for talking is over, we are on the precipice now. How can our Government continue to ignore report after reports that carbon emissions have reached pandemic proportions?
‘We need to act to halt this climate catastrophe, and we have take a similar approach to how we have coped with the COVID pandemic. This is a climate and eco crisis and we are in grave danger.’
Oliver Baines, 70, was one of 100 activists who had made the gruelling six-hour journey into London from Cornwall.
He said: ‘We have to end the extraction of fossil fuels, it’s a simple, clear message and we just do not have any more time to waste
‘There have been too many words, now is the time for action. We have activists here from all over the country. There will be actions in the city, that’s for sure.
‘The Guildhall was targeted because it’s a symbol of the City. The City has profited from slave trade, arms investment and of course from investing in fossil fuels and it now needs to step up and do the right thing and stop that investment now.’
Red paint can still be seen above the entrance to the Guildhall, although the area was quiet this morning.
Police scuffled with protesters outside the building yesterday at about 8pm and brought in a ladder to remove protesters who had climbed onto an alcove above the main entrance.
Of the nine arrests, three were on suspicion of criminal damage and a further five were arrested for conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
A further person was arrested for going equipped to cause criminal damage, The Met said.
The movement has gained support from celebrities such as comedian and author Stephen Fry and actor Jerome Flynn.
In a video shared on Twitter, Fry praised the group for attempting to ‘make politicians really recalibrate, realign, revolutionise politics’ through their ‘mucky’ and ‘disruptive’ demonstrations.
Flynn attended a protest on Sunday evening in which three activists scaled the entrance of the Guildhall building in central London.
A crowd of about 200 people gathered as the trio sprayed red spray paint over the walls of the building and unfurled a banner reading ‘co-liberation freedom together’.
The Game Of Thrones actor told the PA news agency it was ‘more urgent than ever’ for people to take a stand together.
‘We’ve gotten used to certain systems that are life destructive, we created them, we’ve become addicted to them and we know the world is burning as a result,’ he said.
Extinction Rebellion vowed to return to the streets earlier this month following a string of victories in court which saw activists successfully appeal convictions for previous stunts.
Their latest protest comes after a major science review by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that human activity such as burning fossil fuels was unequivocally driving the climate crisis, with impacts such as deadly heatwaves, floods and storms already being felt.
In November the UK will host the international Cop26 summit where the pressure will be on world leaders to increase action to urgently cut greenhouse gases and avoid even more dangerous global warming.
Source: Read Full Article