Extinction Rebellion: Police move into Parliament Square to confront climate activists

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/climate-change-protesters-mount-train-amid-plan-to-disrupt-public-transport-11696014">Extinction Rebellion: Police move into Parliament Square to confront climate activists</a>
 

The environment secretary told activists "we've got the message" as police officers moved into Parliament Square to remove protesters on the third day of climate action.

Metropolitan Police extended their restrictions on the protests which have closed major areas on London including Waterloo Bridge and roads around Parliament Square.

Officers removed protesters who refused to leave Parliament Square, but those removed were swiftly replaced as the Extinction Rebellion members prepared for two weeks of action.

Throughout the day, climate change protesters climbed on a train at Canary Wharf station in London while four others chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn's house.

A fourth day of disruption in the capital is expected on Thursday, with protesters vowing to maintain roadblocks despite nearly 400 arrests - more than 100 of which took place on Wednesday.

Activists are now only allowed in Marble Arch and will be removed from all other areas.

A member of the activist group said they would be prepared to keep up the protests for two weeks.

On Wednesday, a man and woman, both dressed in black, were pictured on top of a DLR carriage holding a banner that read: "Climate emergency."

They were later removed from the carriage after apparently gluing themselves to the roof, along with another man who glued his hand to the train window.

The station serves staff at Shell International - another London office of the oil company vandalised by protesters earlier this week.

British Transport Police (BTP) said specialist units trained in protest removal were deployed to the scene and one man has been arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway.

A group of four people glued themselves together and chained themselves to the Labour leader's Islington home, sending him Easter eggs and flowers.

The gifts were returned to them. The group described themselves as "Jeremy Corbyn supporters".

The leader of the opposition declined a meeting with them and then left his home without speaking to the group.

They subsequently left and said they felt "absolutely terrible for upsetting his wife".

A group representing businesses in the West End district claimed two days of demonstrations have cost firms at least £12m.

Takings and footfall are down by up to 25% in some stores, the New West End Company said, as it called on police to "take control of the situation".

Protesters from the Extinction Rebellion campaign have occupied the crossroads outside Oxford Circus underground station, camping out there for two days.

Despite a police order restricting demonstrations to a site at Marble Arch, they have remained at some of the capital's busiest hotspots - including Waterloo Bridge.

Met Police denied rumours they were running out of space in their custody suites, saying they would continue to make arrests, and that no one was being taken to stations outside London.

The "non-violent" protests are "to highlight the emergency of ecological collapse" - if the government does not meet Extinction Rebellion's members.

BTP confirmed wifi has been shut off at some stations in an attempt to deter demonstrators.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company, wrote a letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying businesses in the district were "deeply concerned" by the "continued disruption".

"At a time when our high streets are struggling, this additional pressure is deeply damaging to London's economy and reputation," he added.

The group says it represents shops on 74 streets which employ 150,000 workers.

Mr Khan has said he shares the passion of protesters about the urgent need to tackle climate change.

But he added he was "extremely concerned" about plans to disrupt the London Underground.

"It is absolutely crucial to get more people using public transport, as well as walking and cycling, if we are to tackle this climate emergency - and millions of Londoners depend on the Underground network to get about their daily lives in our city," he said in a statement.

"Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change, as well as risking Londoners' safety and I'd implore anyone considering doing so to think again."

Appearing on the One Show, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "I do worry sometimes about some of the scenes we've seen and some of the activity that goes on. So 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.

"And in fact some of the activity that's been going on the streets has actually stopped people doing their jobs and also impeded, for example, people getting around London in a way that's appropriate."

He said direct action is "everyone's right" but added the "point's been made, now let's have a serious conversation".

He admitted the government should do more on climate change.

What are Extinction Rebellion's demands?

The group has vowed to keep up acts of "non-violent civil disobedience" until three demands are met.

First, it wants the government to "tell the truth" about "how deadly our situation is" - telling all citizens and businesses what they need to do to stop climate change.

Second, it calls for carbon emissions to be cut to net zero by 2025 and for the global economy to run on no more than half the planet's worth of resources per year.

Thirdly, it demands a "citizen's assembly" be set up to enact those changes as it does not trust the government to make them boldly, swiftly and long-term enough.

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