LOOK: Hundreds detained in climate change protests in major cities
Berlin - Hundreds of climate change protesters were detained by police in major cities around the world on Monday, which activist group Extinction Rebellion said was the first day of a two-week-long campaign.
Many of the protests targeted major road junctions near government offices, in disruption that was tolerated to varying degrees by police in different countries.
In London, police had already taken action against Extinction Rebellion, often referred to as XR, even before Monday's protests began. Ten people were arrested and equipment was seized from a warehouse used by the group on the weekend.
Metropolitan police arrested 135 people in various parts of the capital on Monday as thousands of activists blocked several main roads and at least one bridge.
"People are rebelling in these numbers because they realize the time to address this is right now, not in 2050, or even 2025," Extinction Rebellion UK tweeted, referring to "net zero" climate emissions pledges by some governments.
In the German capital Berlin, Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked Potsdamer Platz, a large square in the centre of the city, setting up flower pots, sofas, tables and chairs on the major intersection.
According to police, some 300 demonstrators answered a call for a two-hour protest to be held from noon on the square.
A crowd of protesters had earlier set out from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and decamped to a major intersection in the city's Tiergarten park, where police put the numbers at some 1,000.
Berlin Senator for the Interior Andreas Geisel said that the authorities would monitor the gatherings and allow them leeway for a time. But he warned that the authorities would react if violence was used or critical infrastructure, such as airports, was affected.
Police in the Dutch capital Amsterdam detained about 50 people who had refused to leave a roadblock they had set up on a main thoroughfare in the city centre. The roadblock was dismantled.
The police operation to remove the protesters appeared peaceful, according to local media.
Earlier on Monday, XR held a protest in the New Zealand capital Wellington, which saw more than 30 members arrested. Hundreds blocked central roads, ministries and stormed a bank branch in the city.
Hundreds of climate demonstrators also blocked roads in Australian cities to mark the start of their protest. In Sydney police said 30 protesters were arrested for refusing police orders to clear a road near Central Station.
The group said it would carry out actions in 60 cities worldwide, and tweeted pictures from smaller gatherings in France, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and Ireland.dpa