Dame Emma Thompson stood on top of a pink boat that has blocked traffic from Oxford Circus for five days as she rallied the Extinction Rebellion demonstrators in London today.
The Hollywood actress, who jetted into London Heathrow from Los Angeles on Wednesday, laughed with demonstrators in the capital as youth members of the group held a so-called ‘Day of Love’.
Dame Emma told reporters at Oxford Circus that she had come to support the movement and had been greatly inspired by it, adding that her generation and politicians had failed young people.
She ascended the ladder to the deck of the pink boat to cheers from the crowd, before dozens of police officers strode into the crowd of activists and surrounded it.
The 60-year-old Love Actually star said: ‘We have seriously failed them and our planet is in serious trouble, we have much, much less time than we thought.
Dame Emma speaks to protesters this morning from the pink boat that has blocked traffic from Oxford Circus for five days
Dame Emma stands on the boat as she speaks to climate change activists occupying the road junction at Oxford Circus today
Actress Emma Thompson (left) joins Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at Oxford Circus in London this morning
Dame Emma laughs with demonstrators at Oxford Circus as youth members of the group hold a so-called ‘Day of Love’ today
Dame Emma points to a label saying ‘There is No Planet B’ as she joins Extinction Rebellion protesters at Oxford Circus today
Dame Emma joins the Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus as she speaks from on board the pink boat today
‘I have seen the evidence for myself and I really care about my children and grandchildren enough to want to be here today to stand with the next generation.’
The actress added: ‘This is the most pressing and urgent problem of our time, in the history of the human race.’
When asked whether protesters were having too much fun, Dame Emma said protests should have a sense of joy. She added: ‘If you can’t have fun whilst saving the planet, what’s the point?
‘Protest should always have a sense of joy in it because what we are protesting about is saving this extraordinary home of ours and also celebrating the passion and inspiring energy of this young generation.
‘These are young people who have finally said to my generation ‘I’m so sorry but you have failed us’. We all feel dreadful about that. My feeling is I feel massively inspired by this young generation and want to stand next to them.’
She added: ‘We are here in this little island of sanity and it makes me so happy to be able to join you all and to add my voice to the young people here who have inspired a whole new movement.’
Dame Emma ascended the ladder to the deck of the pink boat parked at Oxford Circus today to cheers from the crowd
Dame Emma said at Oxford Circus today that she had come to support the movement and had been greatly inspired by it
Dame Emma is interviewed for television as she stands among demonstrators at Oxford Circus in London this morning
Dame Emma told the protesters at Oxford Circus in London this morning: ‘We are here in this little island of sanity’
Dame Emma said her generation and politicians had failed young people as she encouraged the protesters in London today
Dame Emma said today: ‘This is the most pressing and urgent problem of our time, in the history of the human race’
Dame Emma, who has been urging more people to join the climate change movement, is expected to be joined by actors Lee Ross, from White Gold and The Catherine Tate Show, and Paapa Essiedu, from Press and Kiri.
Protest organisers said there would be a procession of youth members of Extinction Rebellion marching from the Eros Statue at Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus today, on what is the fifth day of the demonstrations this week.
Dame Emma, whose flight from Los Angeles to London this week generated at least 1.67 tonnes of CO2, said she had wanted to join the protests sooner but it had been her 60th birthday on Monday.
Yesterday, dressed in black dungarees and wearing a green sticker bearing the Extinction Rebellion logo on her chest, she said at Marble Arch: ‘I was not here on April 15 because I was with my husband because I was 60.’
The Oscar and Bafta-winning actress added: ‘I am so proud and thrilled to be part of Extinction Rebellion, a new movement that has come up behind all the old ones that I’ve been part of since I was 16 years old.
When asked whether protesters were having too much fun, Dame Emma said today that protesters should have a sense of joy
Dame Emma hugs a man at Oxford Circus as she joins Extinction Rebellion demonstrators for the protest in London today
A young girl takes a selfie with Dame Emma during the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations at Oxford Circus today
Dame Emma said in London today: ‘I feel massively inspired by this young generation and want to stand next to them’
Dame Emma joins the Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at Oxford Circus today, after jetting into London on Wednesday
Dame Emma said today that the protest is partly about ‘celebrating the passion and inspiring energy of this young generation’
‘A movement that’s telling it like it is and saying to government ‘look, there’s no more time. You can’t lie and you can’t stall any longer’. And we will occupy until you take action because that is the only way we are going to save our planet.
‘It’s hard, it’s inconvenient sometimes but it’s much more inconvenient to leave a planet that’s so completely destroyed that our grandchildren will be up against things that we cannot even imagine.’
Her spokesman said: ‘She had to fly home at any rate, it was just earlier than she thought she could have. At the moment, that is our only available and practical means of trans-global travel.’
More than 570 protesters have now been arrested as activists continue to ignore orders to leave roadblocks at Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Parliament Square.
The action moved to London Heathrow today, although there was no disruption, with about 15 young people unfurling a banner on the pavement outside the transport hub reading: ‘Are we the last generation?’.