Extinction Rebellion activists have dumped brightly-painted boats emblazoned with climate change slogans in five major UK cities as they begin week-long protests to bring chaos to the UK as part of their ‘summer uprising’.
Today climate change protesters parked up outside the Royal Courts of Justice complete with a blue boat with the words ‘act now’ and ‘we are nature defending itself’ written alongside it.
The protest movement has threatened to bring chaos to the streets by blocking traffic as part of a nationwide campaign that will see five boats block roads in London, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff and Leeds for the next week.
Today’s demonstrations come months after hundreds of activists brought London to a halt in April with a huge protest that led to more than 1,000 being arrested.
However, many people across major UK cities such as London, were one again left reeling as protesters halted traffic on the Strand, causing misery to commuters.
The colourful boats once again plagued London commuters who were caught up in the chaos during the protest movement’s Spring disruption, after a similar pink boat was parked in Oxford Circus for five days, with Oscar-winning actress Dame Emma Thomson posing aboard.
While many expressed their solidarity with the group, many also took to social media to question whether or not the group was actually making a difference.
Large crowds are gathering outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, pictured, for a new week-long Extinction Rebellion protest just months after the activists brought the capital to a standstill in April
Extinction Rebellion have returned to London today and set up camp outside the Royal Courts of Justice, blocking the road with a blue yacht. Protesters are now gathering for a week-long demonstration
Protesters have also climbed aboard a yellow boat in Leeds where the activists have set up near the Neville Street Bridge, one of the main routes into the city. They are targeting the financial sector and want to cause disruption to force firms to support environmental campaigns with their funds
Meanwhile in Glasgow a purple boat has been set up near the High Street, and a huge sail has been unveiled reading ‘act now’, with more police officers posted to the scene to ensure public safety
Protesters have also set up a boat outside Cardiff Castle, pictured, and have been delaying commuters around the city
The final protest has been launched in Bristol where a pink boat has been used to block Bristol Bridge, pictured, to cause more disruption for commuters
Those from all walks of life were pictured at the protests today, including this baby who was wearing a ‘tell the truth’ top
An Extinction Rebellion protester relaxes in the sun while displaying a placard saying ‘Earth Protectors’ outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand
On Twitter user said: ‘I’m all for Extinction Rebellion having the right to express their opinions but blocking off essential emergency service routes is totally unacceptable.’
Another highlighted that although he agreed with the group’s message, their approach might not be helping them. One user said: ‘Are there no other ways of getting the message across without causing huge disruption though? You are not going to get a lot of the public behind you if you are p****** them off on their commute to work/daily business.’
The boats which will pop up across UK towns and cities this week have all been named after climate change activists, with the London vessel named Polly Higgins in memory of an environmental lawyer who died earlier this year of cancer.
However, some social media users were keen to highlight the impact the boats may be having as well as the actions of the group as a whole.
One user, with the Twitter handle ‘BulletBlueSky’ said: ‘A fibreglass boat, towed by a gas guzzling 4×4. Neither are good for the environment.
‘And why the police escort? The Met Police should stop it here and have them removed from the City immediately.’
Another added: ‘Our society is wasteful & there’s not a lot we can do on a personal level – just not sure extinction rebellion are helping.’
Social media users were quick to criticise the protests for causing chaos for commuters and potentially blocking routes for the emergency services
Other social media users highlighted the impact the fibreglass boat may have on the environment and others said they weren’t actually sure on whether or not the group were helping the cause
Some tweeted that they understood why Extinction Rebellion were protesting but stressed that people still needed to go about their daily lives
Protesters gathered on the Strand in London (pictured above) with many holding onto flags and other signs which show the Extinction Rebellion logo
Police have set up a guard around the boat, pictured, which is named the Polly Higgins after an environmental lawyer who died of cancer recently. It is one of five boats being used to block roads in five different UK cities
Extinction Rebellion said its protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice, pictured, was designed to ‘demand the legal system take responsibility for the climate change crisis’
Singer Jessica Winter entertains demonstrators from the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ climate environmental activist group who came to London with the blue boat
A spokesman for the group said of the London protest: ‘People will be gathering outside the Royal Courts of Justice to demand the legal system take responsibility in this crisis, and ensure the safety of future generations by making ecocide law.
‘We also stand in solidarity with climate activists around the world who are sacrificing their freedom to fight for climate justice.
‘This protest comes as the courts in the UK gear up to prosecute over 1,000 people who were arrested during our International Rebellion in April. We are calling on the Met and Crown Prosecution Service to drop all prosecutions.’
Meanwhile Jayne Forbes, 63 mother of two, who is one of the protesters, added: ‘I was arrested during the International Rebellion in April because it is so important to stand up and challenge a government who is not even performing its primary function of providing our security for the future.
Protesters in London outside the Royal Courts of Justice, pictured, have already started setting up blankets and even appear to be doing yoga
Groups are now sitting down in the Strand and are blocking the road to traffic after police tried to open up a lane
Crowds are also building up in Leeds where they are demanding financial firms ‘put themselves on the right side of history’ when it comes to the environment
In Glasgow crowds have lined up across the road with a large banner demanding the Government ‘tell the truth’ about climate change and efforts being made to fix problems
Two women were sat on the floor at the Strand in London, while one held a ‘Stop Ecocide change the law’ banner while another looked on
Many came prepared for the fresh wave of protests and had come along with cardboard to sit on, with one woman even seeming to enjoy a flask
‘I therefore believe we have a duty to engage in civil disobedience to promote the need for action now for climate and ecological justice. And yet the government may want to prosecute me for taking a stand to protect our future.’
More protesters are blocking the road outside Cardiff Castle in the Welsh capital, calling on the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The protesters say that despite declarations of a climate emergency by the Welsh government they are unhappy at a lack of action.
Self-described rebel and Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Staci Silvin said that the group is inviting people from across Cardiff to join them in their protests.
Ms Silvin said they would like ‘thousands’ to turn up but have between 500 and 800 ‘rebels signed up’ across Wales.
Protesters in London, pictured, have been flying Extinction Rebellion flags today and waving signs that say ‘Stop Ecocide’
The boat says ‘Act Now’ and ‘We are nature defending itself’ on the sides as the group continues to demand a reduction in carbon emissions produced in Britain
One young child was even pictured at the protests earlier today as people camped out on the Strand with their signs and tents
Protesters yielded flags and looked to be enjoying themselves as many people across London became infuriated with the fresh disruption
Crowds have been growing outside the Royal Courts of Justice, pictured, in London throughout the morning
Even young children have been brought along to the protest in London, pictured left, where protesters have been waving banners and placards with the message ‘stop ecocide’
The mother-of-two from Carmarthen said: ‘We are planning three days [of protests in Cardiff] but it might have to go on longer, it depends on what happens.
‘It would be great if some Assembly Members to come down and we would like the Welsh Government to put pressure on the UK Government.’
A number of people have already expressed frustration at the protesters causing delays through the capital.
One commuter said: ‘It is causing absolute chaos. There is not much notice and if I go back all the other routes seem to be congested as well. I don’t know how long it is going to take me to get to work.’
Ms Silvin said: ‘I just feel completely embarrassed that we have to do this. I have got children so I know what it’s like to get them ready in the morning.
‘The people that are acting down there are desperate because for more than 20/30 years they have been campaigning and nothing has happened.
In Leeds, protesters donned yellow t-shirts and clothing and made their way to Neville Street Bridge to protest investment against the fossil fuel industry
Those attending the protests in Leeds help to provide food and water for others who had given up their time in order to attend the protests
One woman in Leeds was pictured wearing a ‘Respect Existence of Expect Resistance’ t-shirt and a sign which read ‘Act Now’
‘We are really sorry we have to disrupt Cardiff. Just a big apology from us.’
Ms Silvin added that people should ‘enjoy their car free party’ for the next few days, with a number of speakers, musicians and comedians planned to entertain the crowds.
In Glasgow, around eight protesters have chained themselves to a 25-foot long purple sailing boat.
It is positioned at the intersection of Glasgow’s Gallowgate and High Street, by the Merchant City clocktower.
Traffic and public transport are being rerouted and there’s a significant police presence in the area.
They have displayed banners and a sail that reads ‘Act Now’ with the message also emblazoned on the side of the vessel in Gaelic.
In Bristol, protesters occupied Bristol Bridge as part of the uprising and many were seen lying on the floor with their instruments
Extinction Rebellion Glasgow is taking to the streets today as part of the climate group’s ‘Summer Uprising: Act Now’ protests.
Other demonstrations are set to take place in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, and London, armed with a fleet of boats.
The five boats are different colours and similar to the pink boat that occupied Oxford Circus in London during International Rebellion on April 1.
The boat in Glasgow has also been painted with ‘The Future You Fear is Already Here’.
Activist Dougie Graham, 39, said: ‘Climate breakdown has already begun, with those hit first and hardest often the poorest and therefore least able to adapt.
The boat in Glasgow, pictured, has been embossed with the words ‘The future you fear is already here’
The activists blocked the roads in Glasgow while one officer was seen standing guard in front of a group who were holding a sign saying ‘Tell the truth’
The purple boat in Glasgow displayed the sign ‘Act now the future you fear is already here’ with one group member also holding a sign which read ‘act now’
Early this morning the group arrived in Glasgow with handmade signs which read: ‘We welcome everyone and every part of everyone’
The summer uprising will be felt across towns and cities across the UK and a purple boat was today pictured in Glasgow near the Clock Tower
‘We are currently accepting a path where millions will be displaced or die. By not acting we are collectively complicit in this.’
Meanwhile a boat has been set up to block Bristol Bridge while protesters have set up camp outside the City Hall to protest against more than 22,000 homes in the area being at risk of flooding from rising waters.
The Bristol chapter of Extinction Rebellion said: ‘Over 1,200 people from South West England will be converging on Bristol for five days of action. Rebels will disrupt multiple sites in the city for five days, starting with Bristol Bridge on Monday morning.
‘The protest will peacefully escalate on Tuesday to disrupt Bristol Council, where Extinction Rebellion Youth will hold College Green. Wednesday will feature a Critical Mass Bike Ride, which will visit the five areas of the city with the worst air pollution.
‘Extinction Rebellion Bristol will be encouraging people to consider the effects on their lives of droughts, storms and rising water.’
A small Extinction Rebellion group set up the protest in London (pictured) at 9am, with others going on in Cardiff, Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds
Meanwhile in Leeds, activists are setting up in the City Square to target the financial district because it is the ‘biggest and fastest growing outside of London’.
A spokesman for the group said: ‘[We are] drawing attention to the links between banking and the climate and ecological emergency. Rebels will demand that the finance industry changes course to be on the right side of history, and invest in renewable energy and green solutions, rather than adding fuel to the fire.’
Alex Evans, 43, of Extinction Rebellion Leeds, added: ‘As a parent with young children, I’m deeply scared about the kind of future our kids will inherit.
‘It feels like we’ve had decades of everyone waiting for someone else to do something about climate change – now we’re out of time and can all see the signs of climate breakdown all around us.
‘I’m involved in Extinction Rebellion because I want government, big banks and businesses to recognise that this is an emergency and act now.’