Extinction Rebellion: 340 arrests as climate protest continues

Extinction Rebellion: 340 arrests as climate protest continues

Environmental activists blockading Waterloo Bridge.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Londoners face a fourth day of disruption as environmental protesters vow to maintain roadblocks across the capital despite over 300 arrests.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said "we've got the message" after some Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists glued themselves to a train and others chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn's garden fence.

Scotland Yard said more than 100 people were arrested on Wednesday, bringing the total to 340 as protests continue in Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.

On Wednesday night, campaigners were playing a cat-and-mouse game with police, who promised to continue the operation overnight.

Extinction Rebellion protesters who glued themselves to a fence outside Jeremy Corbyn's house. 

The Metropolitan Police could not confirm whether or not anyone had been charged with any criminal offences, while some of those released from custody rejoined the protests.

Activists said they plan to continue roadblocks, which have affected more than half a million people with traffic gridlock and disruption to transport and businesses since Monday, until at least next Friday.

Robin Boardman-Pattison, 21, who walked off during an interview with Sky News, said activists were planning to step up action on the rail and London Underground network.

"We will be escalating our disruption throughout the week," he said. "The impact to the Tube system will grow."

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party defended the protests.

He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “The scale of the issue justifies action. We have a long tradition of non-violent protest in this country – from the Suffragettes to strikers – who make their point when all other avenues have been pursued and we have not had the progress that we need.”

Mr Bartley admitted that government has been taking action on climate change but not fast enough.

He said: “The government has been dragged kicking and screaming.”

Protesters on Waterloo Bridge. 

Asked about the protests on the BBC's The One Show, Mr Gove said: "I think it's appropriate for people to make their feelings known but I also think, we've got the message, we understand that action needs to be taken."

XR, who are demanding a meeting with the government, says direct action is needed to force authorities to act urgently on climate change and wildlife declines and halt a "sixth mass extinction".

But a YouGov poll suggested public opinion has swung against the protests.

The survey of 3,561 British adults showed 52 per cent either "somewhat oppose" or "strongly oppose" the action, compared with 36% who "strongly support" or "somewhat support" it.

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