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Thousands resist police efforts to end Extinction Rebellion occupations in central London

Protesters chant ‘We are peaceful, how about you?’ as police officers arrest 122

OVER 120 environmental activists were arrested today as thousands of protesters resisted police efforts to end their occupation of key central London sites.

Traffic jams and road closures continued for a second day as members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) stood their ground at Parliament Square, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and Waterloo Bridge as part of an international action demanding that a climate and ecological emergency be declared.

Four activists chained and glued themselves to the underside of a lorry parked on Waterloo Bridge, where they slept overnight. The campaigners, equipped with blankets and sleeping bags, plan to continue with their action “for as long as possible.”

Out of the 122 total arrests made by midday, five were for alleged criminal damage at oil giant Shell’s headquarters.

Further demonstrators were dragged away from Waterloo Bridge by police officers after continuing with roadblocks.

Officers were met with chants of “we are peaceful, what about you?” and cheers of support for those being removed. One protester was taken away in an ambulance after he hit his head on a police van and fell to the floor while being arrested.

Activists remained in high spirits on the second day of the action, waving colourful banners and playing music. More arrests are to be expected as the campaigners say protests will continue “throughout the coming weeks.”

One, who gave her name only as Hannah, said she would continue protesting until taken into custody as she does not want to see “children of today suffer in the future.

“I’m aware that people are suffering as a result of climate collapse much more than I will suffer getting arrested,” she said.

Scientist and XR co-founder Dr Gail Bradbrook apologised for the inconvenience caused to the public, saying that the activists “don’t want to wind people up.

“We’re here to get people to have a conversation about climate change,” she said. “I have two boys, 10 and 13, and they won’t have enough food to eat in a few years’ time.”
 
Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted his support for the activists. He said the disruptions “will be worth it” if it “moves us all a step further in tacking climate change.”

In the Netherlands, some 25 XR members also occupied the International Criminal Court in The Hague, calling for “ecocide” to be recognised as an international crime.

They added that the “ongoing violence against the ecosystems that sustain all living things has been left unpunished.”

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