Police officers remove a climate protestor from Lambeth bridge in central London. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP
Police officers remove a climate protestor from Lambeth bridge in central London. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP

PICS: Nearly 300 activists arrested at Extinction Rebellion protest in London

By Bill Smith Time of article published Oct 8, 2019

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London  - Police arrested nearly 300 people as thousands of

Extinction Rebellion climate activists blocked main roads and at

least two bridges in central London on Monday's opening day of global

protests by the group.

The Metropolitan Police reported a total of 280 arrests across London

by late in the evening. Officers had to drag away protesters who were

sat in the middle of a main road into Parliament Square.

Other protesters erected scaffolding, tents, vehicles and makeshift

buildings to block roads, under the close watch of hundreds of

uniformed police.

The police thwarted plans by religious activists to create a "faith

bridge" blockade along Lambeth Bridge, which was sealed off by police

but blocked by protesters at one end.

One elderly protester who travelled from the nearby city of Oxford

said he was escorted off the bridge by dozens of police, adding that

another man was arrested for obstruction.

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/XRebellionUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@XRebellionUK pic.twitter.com/UWyJ1Jxx0G

— Extinction Rebellion Peace (@XRPeaceUK)

"They grabbed anything that was put on the bridge, like a giant

statue. We're lucky to be here," said the man, who gave only the

single name Steven

"It's very indicative of the modern world that the secular police

stop 'faiths united'," he told dpa as he guarded flags and religious

images hung on railings as a makeshift shrine.

Environmental protestors gather around the head of a statue confiscated by police on Lambeth Bridge in central London. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP

Environmental activists blocked roads leading to Britain's Parliament in an attempt to disrupt the heart of government. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP

Another middle-aged Christian protester, carrying a large wooden

cross on his shoulder, said he had travelled to Lambeth Bridge from

the edge of London.

Asking to be identified only by his first name, Simon, he said he was

at his first Extinction Rebellion event.

"I've come of my own volition to do my own pilgrimage, but I'm very

sympathetic to why everybody else is here," Simon told dpa.

"I realized today is a significant day, and I have friends in Malawi,

in Sierra Leone, in Haiti - where I've worked - and they can't be

here," he said.

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClimateEmergency?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ClimateEmergencyis the biggest issue of our generation

We pray and take action for all those people already affected and all the children who want a safe future pic.twitter.com/b8yu9FBzPC

— Christian Climate Action (@CClimateAction)

"But they were already suffering [in Malawi] 25 years ago when they

couldn't explain why they're getting droughts year after year," Simon

said. "Things haven't improved... And so I'm carrying a cross because

this cross is a symbol of hope."

Caroline Lucas, Britain's sole Green Party member of parliament, said

the protests are "sending a clear message to government to say we

need to tell the truth about the climate emergency."

Climate protestors block Lambeth Bridge leading to Britain's Parliament in central London in an attempt to disrupt the heart of government. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP

"We need radical action now," Lucas said in a video message from one

of the protests.

"There is more political leadership on the streets than I've ever

seen in the House of Commons," she said, referring to parliament's

elected house, where she sits.

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ExtinctionRon London's streets than I've ever seen in the House of Commons

I wish them well and stand in solidarity with all those taking peaceful action pic.twitter.com/LMfBrUG3X1

— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas)

Extinction Rebellion UK said at least 23 people were arrested as

police tried to remove a model of a Trident nuclear-capable missile

that was erected in a "peace blockade" outside Britain's Defence

Ministry earlier Monday.

The group has promised "the largest regenerative movement of civil

disobedience in history."

Climate protestors block Lambeth bridge, leading to Britain's Parliament in central London. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP

The police said 11 people were arrested over the weekend.

Extinction Rebellion, or XR, said the police also seized six

vehicles, plus tents, toilets and "disabled access equipment" from a

London warehouse.

Climate protestors block Lambeth bridge leading to Britain's Parliament in central London. Picture: Matt Dunham/AP

"They really know how to get to people," Steven said. "They can't

protest with a full bladder. Well done, police!"

Smaller Extinction Rebellion protests were held in cities across the

globe on Monday, including Berlin, Paris, New York and Wellington.

dpa

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