Six arrested as climate activists scale Marble Arch and oil tanker

·3-min read

Climate protesters scaled Marble Arch and climbed atop an oil tanker on the seventh day of co-ordinated demonstrations urging faster action to stop global warming.

A man and a woman climbed up pillars on Marble Arch to hoist a green banner, reading "End fossil fuels now", from the central London landmark on Saturday evening.

Six people were arrested after activists earlier climbed onto an oil tanker off Bayswater Road in London. British Olympic champion Etienne Stott was among those taking part, and said he was protesting to “disrupt the toxic fossil fuel industry”.

The action was part of demonstrations carried out by campaign group Extinction Rebellion on Saturday and followed protesters gathering in Hyde Park and parading through the capital's streets.

The Metropolitan Police told The Independent it had spent more than £565,000 policing the demonstrations since the beginning of the month.

Campaign groups Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion have been targetting fuel terminals in a series of co-ordinated protests across the country, which started on 1 April.

In other disruptive demonstrations across the capital over the past week, the eco-activists London’s main four bridges, occupied Oxford Circus, protested at Lloyd’s of London, and climbed on top of oil tankers.

Activists hang a banner from Marble Arch in London on Saturday (Gareth Morris/Extinction Rebellion)
Activists hang a banner from Marble Arch in London on Saturday (Gareth Morris/Extinction Rebellion)

The Metropolitan Police’s latest estimate of the cost of the protests is £565,824.45, according to figures obtained by The Independent.

This initial estimate covers from 1 April to 14 April, but is expected to be higher as the force tackles daily climate actions.

Summer protests organised by Extinction Rebellion last August and September cost the Metropolitan Police over £18m in total.

Police officers attempt to remove Etienne Stott, former Olympian, and an activist from Extinction Rebellion who occupied an oil tanker during a protest calling for an end to fossil fuels (REUTERS)
Police officers attempt to remove Etienne Stott, former Olympian, and an activist from Extinction Rebellion who occupied an oil tanker during a protest calling for an end to fossil fuels (REUTERS)

Stott, a slalom canoeist who won gold in the 2012 London Olympics, said: “I am aware that my actions will cause anger to many people and I am prepared to be held accountable. But our government should also be held to account for its decisions which are destroying our planet’s ability to support human civilisation”.

The Metropolitan Police said protesters walked through central London and “stopped at various locations along their unspecified route, causing disruption”.

Extinction Rebellion said that it was “experimenting with a decisive shift in tactics, with a move away from the use of large infrastructure and a renewed focus on people power and nonviolent civil resistance”.

Activists from Just Stop Oil block an entrance to a fuel terminal, during a protest in Grays, Essex on 15 April (REUTERS)
Activists from Just Stop Oil block an entrance to a fuel terminal, during a protest in Grays, Essex on 15 April (REUTERS)

More than 600 people have been arrested over the past two weeks after activists blocked roads at oil depots across the UK.

Three firms involved in Britain's oil sector, including ExxonMobil, secured injunctions to stop protests this week.

But Just Stop Oil, who have taken part in the protests at oil terminals, said the only “announcement [that] will change our plans is a statement from the government that they will halt new oil and gas”.

Essex Police said last week that it had spent more than £1million dealing with demonstrations at oil terminals.

In Warwickshire, police charged nine Just Stop Oil activists for holding a demonstration at an oil terminal in Kingsbury on Friday.

The protesters were charged with obstructing or disrupting a person engaged in lawful activity.

Extinction Rebellion protesters block off Westminster bridge (PA)
Extinction Rebellion protesters block off Westminster bridge (PA)
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