Extinction Rebellion activists end London protests – BBC News

Extinction Rebellion activists end London protests - BBC News
Climate-change protesters glue themselves to the London Stock Exchange
Environmental activists glued themselves to the London Stock Exchange and climbed onto the roof of a train at Canary Wharf on the final day of protests aimed at forcing Britain to take action to avert what they cast as a global climate cataclysm.

The Extinction Rebellion group has caused mass disruption in recent weeks across London, blocking Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge, smashing a door at the Shell building and shocking lawmakers with a semi-nude protest in parliament.

At the London Stock Exchange's headquarters, six protesters dressed in black suits and red ties were blocking the revolving doors of the building. They held signs reading "Tell the truth" and "You can't eat money."

LONDON — Environmental activists who have disrupted the British capital for 10 days blocked the main entrance to the London Stock Exchange on Thursday, gluing themselves to the doorway while wearing LED displays reading "climate emergency."

At the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station in Canary Wharf, five protesters from the group climbed aboard a train and unfurled a banner which read: "Business as usual = Death." One glued herself to a train.

"Its bizarre we have to do this in order for governments to listen to the scientists," said Diana Warner, 60, who glued her hand to the train.

"I've got children who are grown up so I can do this, so I'm doing it for everyone who can't," Warner said.

An Extinction Rebellion climate change protester, his hand glued to the floor outside the London Stock Exchange, sits next to a placard on April 25, 2019. (Matt Dunham / AP)

In the past 11 days, the group has brought iconic parts of central London to a standstill in what activists have described as the biggest act of civil disobedience in modern British history.

The group thanked Londoners in a statement saying: "We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency."

Police said 1088 arrests have been made since the main protests began. The final day of protests is focusing on the international financial sector, which has made London its home.

"Extinction Rebellion to focus on the financial industry today," the group said in a statement. The "aim is to demand the finance industry tells the truth about the climate industry and the devastating impact the industry has on our planet."

The group advocates non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to reduce carbon emissions and avert what it says is a global climate crisis that will bring starvation, floods, wildfires and social collapse.

Extinction Rebellion protesters stop traffic in City of London

The group is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and create a citizen's assembly of members of the public to lead on decisions to address climate change.

Were not Occupy: Extinction Rebellion to leave London roadblocks

In 2017, total United Kingdom greenhouse gas emissions were 43 per cent lower than in 1990 and 2.6 percent lower than 2016, according to government statistics.

Extinction Rebellion says it will end its remaining blockades at Marble Arch and Parliament Square on Thursday.

Extinction Rebellion: London Stock Exchange blocked by climate activists

The group said they will end their protests in London on Thursday and will end their blockades at Parliament Square and Marble Arch.

Thursday briefing: Extinction Rebellions last London hurrah | World news

However, they promised more protests in the future, saying direct action was the only way to bring the issue to public attention.

Phil Kingston, 83, a seasoned climate activist, brought protest banners and a packed lunch to climb on top of a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf station with three other activists shortly after 7am.

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A retired parole officer in his eighties was among a number of climate change protesters arrested today after climbing on top of a train in London during the morning rush hour.

LONDON – More than 300 environmental activists sowed chaos through London‘s financial district on Thursday, gluing themselves to the stock exchange and blocking roads outside the Bank of England and major banks such as Goldman Sachs.

The Extinction Rebellion group has spent 11 days disrupting London in a bid to force Britain to act to help avert what they cast as a climate cataclysm.

1) Telling the truthPartly through pressure from XR, scores of councils and local authorities in the UK have declared a climate emergency in recent months – as has the Labour party. Increasing numbers of politicians – certainly on the opposition benches – acknowledge that this is the biggest challenge facing humanity. However, the Conservative government in the UK has repeatedly dragged its feet. This week, during an urgent question tabled by Labour, the energy minister Claire Perry rejected the idea of declaring a climate emergency, saying: I dont know what that would entail. She said she had reservations about the Extinction Rebellion protests: I worry that many of the messages we are hearing ignore the progress that is being made, and as such make people fearful for the future rather than hopeful.

On Thursday, they turned their attention to London‘s financial institutions and the city — home to more international banks than any other and the global centre for foreign exchange trading.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, was one of several politicians to address the protesters. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP 2) Zero emissions by 2025The UK is nowhere near hitting zero emissions by 2045, never mind 2025. But the fact that this demand is now out there has changed the parameters of the debate. This week, confronted by XR protesters outside parliament, Labours Diane Abbott said MPs needed to come together to host a broad conversation about hitting net zero by 2025. I think that things can change … on climate change and we can move towards the 2025 target, she told them. Next week the Committee on Climate Change will announce its revised targets for the UK, including when the country should aim to reach net zero emissions.

In streets beside the Bank of England, around 20 activists blocked the road singing Bob Marley’s “One Love.” Police removed one woman who glued her breasts to the road outside Goldman Sachs European headquarters on Fleet Street.

2) Zero emissions by 2025Hitting zero carbon emissions by 2025 represents a huge, some say an almost impossible, challenge. It would require a complete overhaul of the way we are organised as a society in just six years – fundamentally changing everything from transport to domestic and industrial energy systems, food production to overall levels of consumption. The UKs Committee on Climate Change has currently set the target of an 80% reduction by 2050. XR and its supporters say rather than being guided by what is deemed politically possible, policy must now be driven by what is scientifically necessary. And they point out that the chaos of failing to tackle the crisis will dwarf any disruption caused by acting now.

Protester Diana Warner glues her hand to a train as demonstrators block traffic at Canary Wharf Station during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

A protester wears a protective mask put by the police as they attempt to remove protective casing in which a she has put her hand, as protesters block traffic at Fleet Street during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

3:37 Extinction Rebellion: 10 days of protests draw to an end – video Are they realistic? 1) Tell the truthThe notion that politicians should tell the truth about what scientists, the UN and countless other experts say is an existential threat to human survival appears, on the face of it, to be a modest ask. But Extinction Rebellion (XR) point out that no political leaders in any country – certainly the current government in the UK – are being honest with the public about the scale or severity of the threat or what it will realistically take to address it. In this context, they argue, telling the truth is a radical act from which everything else will flow.

Extinction Rebellion: Climate protesters will target the Square Mile in new wave of disruption

Protesters block traffic outside The Bank of England during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

Read more 3) Citizens assemblyThere is no sign at the moment that the government intends to set up a citizens assembly to address the climate crisis. A few Labour MPs – including Stella Creasy and Jon Ashworth – have backed the idea but certainly for now, it has not gained any real traction in Westminster.

Video: Climate activists block London stock exchange and disrupt trains

Climate change protests in London: Extinction Rebellion, explained

A man takes part in a demonstration at the London stock exchange during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

For many the peaceful mass protests of the last week have been transformational. Media coverage of the action has been widespread. The truth about the climate crisis – and the existential threat it poses to humanity – is, campaigners argue, now in the public domain and can no longer be ignored by those in power.

Demonstrators glue their hands to the London stock exchange during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

Activist Glues Her Breasts To The Road In London Protest

Demonstrators block traffic at Fleet Street during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

3) Citizens assemblyThe government must create a citizens assembly to hear evidence and devise policy to tackle the climate crisis.

Climate protesters are seen in front of HM Treasury in Westminster during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019.

Extinction Rebellion Protests: What happened?

The hand of a demonstrator is seen glued to a wall of the London stock exchange during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Lying on the ground outside Goldman, one activist held a placard saying “No jobs on a dead planet” while others chanted: “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now.”

In Canary Wharf, five protesters from the group climbed aboard a train at the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station and unfurled a banner which read: “Business as usual = Death.” One glued herself to a train.

“I’m here because I have a belief that there is something greater than us, which tells me that we don’t own this earth,” said Phil Kingston, a retired parole officer who celebrated his 83rd birthday by climbing on top of the train during rush hour.

READ MORE: Extreme weather, including widespread spring flooding, is ‘new reality’ of climate change: Trudeau

Extinction Rebellion: Climate change activists to target Londons financial district for final swarming protest

At the London Stock Exchange‘s headquarters, seven protesters dressed in black suits and red ties were blocking the revolving doors of the building. They held signs reading “Tell the truth” and “You cant eat money.”

The activists also held protests outside other banks including Rothschild, Nomura, Deutsche Bank. Eight protesters glued themselves together with their arms around the handrail to the Treasury, according to a Reuters photographer at the scene.

With largely peaceful stunts — such as blocking some of London‘s most iconic locations, smashing a door at the Shell building and shocking lawmakers with a semi-nude protest in parliament — the group has garnered massive publicity.

Extinction Rebellion advocates non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to reduce carbon emissions and avert what it says is a global climate crisis that will bring starvation, floods, wildfires and social collapse.

Extinction Rebellion protestors glue themselves to London Stock Exchange on final day of protests

Police said 1,130 arrests had been made since the main protests began. The final day of protests is focusing on the international financial sector, which has made London its home.

“So were here today to highlight that there are people and businesses trading in ecological destruction in that building behind us,” Adam Woodhall, a 48-year-old spokesman for the group, said outside the London Stock Exchange.

“We want the people in this building and around the world that in the financial industry to understand the impact that they are having on our futures. They are trading and making money in our futures.”

The group is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and create a citizen’s assembly of members of the public to lead on decisions to address climate change.

In 2017, total United Kingdom greenhouse gas emissions were 43 per cent lower than in 1990 and 2.6 per cent lower than 2016, according to government statistics.

The group said they would end their protests in London on Thursday and would end their blockades at Parliament Square and Marble Arch.

Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters glue themselves to London Stock Exchange

However, they promised more protests in the future, saying direct action was the only way to bring the issue to public attention.