Extinction Rebellion protesters have sprayed 1,800 litres of fake blood onto the pavement in front of the Treasury building in London in their latest stunt.
The activists used an untaxed, decommissioned, diesel-glugging fire engine and its hoses in an attempt to spray a message onto the building, but the hose broke and they were unable to control it before the liquid went on the stairs and ground.
Around 30 police officers later arrived on the scene but were seen surrounding the area while the group carried on their protest. Four people were later arrested for criminal damage.
Footage of the protest shows the group switching on the hose in an attempt to write a message on the front of the building – but the hosepipe broke almost instantly and the liquid instead went all over on the floor.
Extinction Rebellion have named those involved in the stunt as retired Bristol University lecturer Phil Kingston, 83, retired GP Diana Warner, 60, musician Cathy Eastburn, 52, forest school teacher Árainn Hawker, 48, Buddhist teacher Mark Ovland, 36, electrician Liam Norton, 34.
Extinction Rebellion protesters have sprayed the treasury with fake blood in their latest stunt
The group quickly lost control of the hose and the red liquid sprayed into the road rather than onto the building
The protesters claim the government ‘only cares about economic growth’ and not the environment
Demonstrators (left to right) Phil Kingston, Diana Warner, Cathy Eastburn and Mark Ovland stand on top of the fire engine
Workers had to walk through the liquid this morning as they attempted to get into the building
Mr Kingston says he has been arrested five times already over previous protests, including when he clambered on to the roof of a DLR train at Canary Wharf station in east London.
Mr Ovland was one of a group of demonstrators who stripped off in the House of Commons in April. He was also one of the so-called ‘Totnes Two’ after gluing themselves to the door of an oil industry conference.
Ms Warner and Ms Eastburn were also previously arrested over London tube stop protests.
The Met Police tweeted: ‘Police were called at 10.17 to Horse Guards Rd #SW1. People on a privately owned fire engine had sprayed a liquid at the Treasury building. No reported injuries. 3 men and 1 woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Local road closures are in place while police deal.’
The group, which has carried out a series of high-profile demonstrations in the capital this year, claims the government is funding ‘fossil exploration and carbon-intensive projects’.
A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The UK is a world leader on climate change – having reduced its emissions by 42% between 1990 and 2017, while growing the economy by more than two thirds.
‘In June, we became the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming by 2050. We will continue to build on this proud record.’
Demonstraters Mark Ovland (left) and Cathy Eastburn (right) were later seen being led away by police
Another unidentified man was led away by officers, while a young woman sat on the curb with a red-stained jumper and hands
Environment protester Phil Kingston, who has previously been arrested five times for demonstrations, was on the fire engine
Mr Kingston was eventually brought down from the fire engine by police officers. There were at least 30 police officers at the scene and approximately 15 protesters
TV news footage showed the group failing to control the hose as it sprayed Horse Guard’s Parade
Police have yet to comment on incident, but arrived at the building in Horse Guards Parade shortly after the protest began
The group hoped to spray the building but their hose burst seconds after they switched it on and the liquid went on the floor
Police arrived on the scene shortly after the stunt.At least two people have been arrested for criminal damage, police say
Veteran protester Phil Kingston said in a statement: ‘I fight with all my being for my four grandchildren in this situation of existential danger.
‘And I am a Christian who cares for the Earth as God’s Creation; and for the world’s poorest peoples whose experience of injustice draws a special love from God. I come to the Treasury to challenge these practices and to demand radical change in them.’
Extinction Rebellion said: ‘The Treasury has been frustrating efforts by other government departments to take action against climate change because it cares only about economic growth,’ one of the activists said. ‘It doesn’t see that eternal economic growth leads to climate death.’
‘The red symbolises the people dying now in the global south and also the people who are going to start dying from climate change all around the world if we do nothing.’
The Extinction Rebellion group disrupted London with 11 days of protests in April that it cast as the biggest act of civil disobedience in recent British history.
Iconic locations were blocked, the Shell building defaced, trains stopped and Goldman Sachs targeted.
Protesters demands ‘would do more harm than good’
Dieter Helm says cutting UK emissions would lead to more emissions elsewhere in the world
Extinction Rebellion’s eagerness to cut the country’s emissions by 2025 would do more environmental harm than good, a UK Government tsar has claimed.
Dieter Helm, chairman of the Natural Capital Committee advisory group, said reaching the environment campaigners’ net-zero target would lead to an increase in pollution through imports.
Speaking in Edinburgh, the University of Oxford economics and energy policy professor said the group’s target would do ‘a hell of a lot of damage’ as carbon emissions would just be created elsewhere.
He told the PA news agency: ‘The cost will be so colossally high because you would have to change all existing capital stock – public resistance would be extremely destructive to dealing with it.
‘The only way to get emissions down really quickly here would be to stop Scottish industry then import the pollution – we will make the climate even worse.’
Prof Helm instead argues a net-zero carbon consumption would be a more effective way to reduce pollution.
He used the example of British Steel, whose closure would see a reduction in emissions being created in the UK but would then lead to the product being imported from countries like China.
He said: ‘Your impact on global warming will be to increase it.’
Prof Helm has argued for a single-level carbon tax to be introduced and for those who contribute to a net reduction in pollution to receive payment.
His three principles for a 25-year green plan are public money for public goods, polluters must pay, and there should be an environmental gain.
He said there has been a “wake-up call” that efforts to tackle climate change have not been working, but he believes his policies could create sustainable economic growth while also tackling global warming.