London is braced for chaos as Extinction Rebellion prepare to unleash a three-day, Hong Kong-style protest at City airport today.
Travellers face mayhem at the airport in Newham, East London, as demonstrators look set to emulate protesters who cancelled more than 1,000 flights as they railed against police brutality in Hong Kong.
Police say they are unable to confirm how many demonstrators are being held in cells across the capital after the Met said they had made 800 arrests in just three days.
Dance music duo Orbital played a DJ set to crowds of flag-waving environmentalists in Trafalgar Square, central London, amid claims that police were running out of cells in which to hold those they had detained since Monday.
Pictured: Dance music duo Orbital DJing at an Extinction Rebellion rave last night at Trafalgar Square in central London as protests threaten to paralyse the capital
Orbital are pictured on stage in Trafalgar Square, central London, to an Extinction Rebellion rave as protests enter their fourth day in the capital
London City Airport in Newham, East London, is braced for demonstrations today as Extinction Rebellion activists prepare to emulate action taken in Hong Kong
Journalist Damian Gayle tweeted from the scene: ‘Bass and drum at #ExtinctionRebellion Trafalgar Square right now. I’m told that police have stopped arresting rebels “because they’ve run out of space in the cells”.’
The Met Police told MailOnline this morning that this is ‘not accurate’ but was unable to say how many of the 800 arrested were still detained. A spokesman for the force said: ‘The Met has not reached cell capacity.’
The Government took the extraordinary step of drafting in 500 officers from 43 other police forces in England and Wales as they try to round up the mob bringing chaos to the capital.
Those arrested include 91-year-old veteran campaigner John Lynes. Illegal sites in Whitehall and Horseferry Road remain closed while police spend hours dislodging the demonstrators without injuring them and sparking potential compensation claims.
Circus performers joined the demonstrations last night, draping themselves in red robes to resemble blood. Invisible Circus – a street performance group from Bristol – joined their ranks today, adding their painted faces to the throngs descending on Downing Street
With faces painted white, they wore clothing designed to remind everyone present of the blood that binds humanity together as police admitted they were being forced to neglect crime victims to patrol the protests.
The Red Brigade (pictured) has hit the streets of London it the Extinction Rebellion protests. The Invisible Circus group from Bristol has its street performers dress in red drapes to symbolise the blood that binds humanity together and its members are pictured at Trafalgar Square in central London on Wednesday night
Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest famous face to have shown up at the Extinction Rebellion protests that are clogging up central London
Benedict Cumberbatch is pictured speaking with protesters demonstrating for Extinction Rebellion in central London
The protest group says its members intend to ‘peacefully occupy and shut down’ the airport’s terminal building from 9am on Thursday.
Activists say they will achieve this by lying, sitting or gluing themselves in front of the departure and arrival gates at the east London airport.
If they do not make it into the building, they plan to occupy the airport’s access road and DLR station.
The latest protest is against the climate impact of flying and the Government’s ongoing support of airport expansion.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Rupert Read said: ‘By non-violently shutting down this airport, in homage to the style of the Hong Kong democracy protesters, we are demonstrating the utter frailty of the transport systems that countries such as ours, unwisely, have come to depend upon.’
The group said hundreds of people have already signed up to take part in the protest, which will seem them ‘non-violently use their bodies’ to close the airport.
It said those taking part are willing to risk being arrested to achieve their aim.
Hundreds of police officers are being drafted in from across England and Wales to help the Metropolitan Police with the protests, which are now in their third day.
Activists have been camped on rounds around Parliament Square and Whitehall since Monday calling for urgent action on climate change and wildlife.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that 800 people had been arrested since Monday, with another 220 detained on Wednesday.
Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor said there are plans in place to intervene and ‘deal proactively’ with anyone who has the intention of shutting down the airport.
A London City Airport spokesman said they were working with the Met Police to prepare for the protests and all passengers would be required to show their boarding pass to access the terminal.
Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said yesterday that the scale of operation was having a big impact on policing in other areas of the capital.
He said: ‘We haven’t stopped policing, we never will, but it does mean that some activities beyond the normal responses are affected.
‘We cannot spent the amount of time with victims we would normally because we have to make sure we are dealing with the protests. We are not at the level we would want to be… and police officers should be working in their communities.’