More than 110 people have been arrested over London climate change protests in less than 24 hours after a police order restricted them to one area as angry commuters face more disruption on their way into work.
Police have been moving the Extinction Rebellion protesters off Waterloo Bridge after an order was made restricting them to gathering in the area around Marble Arch, but groups remained on the streets in Westminster.
Scotland Yard had made 113 arrests as of 6am this morning, the majority of which for public order offences and obstruction of the highway. While many children joined in the protests, all of those detained were adults.
Some commuters supported the protests, but others were unimpressed. Karen Buckingham tweeted: This really shouldn’t be allowed on any London road. So much disruption which I know is the point, but enough’s enough.’
Climate change activists block a road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Parliament Square in London this morning
Activists block a road near Marble Arch this morning on the second day of the protest by the Extinction Rebellion group
A woman drinks as others sleep in tents at a road block near Marble Arch this morning during the Extinction Rebellion protest
Activists pour drinks near Marble Arch on the second day of the protest by the Extinction Rebellion group today
A climate change activist walks between tents during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London today
Many major routes in London are blocked by protesters this morning, as shown by the ‘no entry’ sign in the map above
And Peter Newport tweeted Transport for London to say: ‘Another day of disruption with no one able to get a bus in Central London. I agree with freedom of speech but if I cant get to work it’s costing me money.’
Extinction Rebellion said five locations across London had been held by an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people by yesterday afternoon – and the protests will continue today during what could be up to a fortnight of action.
The Metropolitan Police said: ‘Whilst a proportionate policing plan is in place to balance the right to a peaceful protest, officers are well trained to maintain public order and are ready to respond to any incidents that may arise.’
Roads remained closed across Westminster and the Hyde Park area, with Transport for London warning bus routes would ‘remain on diversion or curtailment in central London due to ongoing protest which are blocking roads’.
The Met also imposed a 24-hour condition for protesters to gather only at Marble Arch under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, saying that it had required evidence that serious disruption was now being caused.
A spokesman said: The information and intelligence available at this time means that that Met feels this action is necessary in order to prevent the demonstrations from causing ongoing serious disruption to community.’
Climate change activists sit on the road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London this morning
An activist brushes his teeth after waking up near Marble Arch in London during the environmental protest this morning
Activists sit with their tents in the road near Marble Arch on the second day of the environmental protest this morning
Activists stand next to their tents in Marble Arch as the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations continue this morning
Activists block the road near Marble Arch today as Extinction Rebellion try to raise more awareness of climate change
It came after environmental protesters blocked some of London’s busiest roads and vandalised Shell’s headquarters near Waterloo yesterday as they demanded action on climate change.
Thousands of people gathered at five central London locations in a bid to bring the capital to a standstill.
Some activists glued themselves to windows and smashed glass revolving doors at Shell’s HQ near Waterloo, while others climbed the building to spray graffiti and hang banners.
Simon Bramwell 47, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, an ex-builder and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, said he glued himself to the building to ‘prevent crimes against humanity’.
Katerina Hasapopoulos, a mother-of-three from Stroud, also glued herself to the front of the building and declared: ‘Shell cares only for profit and I have three beautiful young girls who I want to see grow up to have a future.’
Campaign group Extinction Rebellion said it aimed to cause more than £6,000 of damage so they could be tried by a jury in Crown Court. Police said three men and two women were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
Elsewhere skateboarders replaced cars and lorries on Waterloo Bridge as the Thames crossing was closed to traffic and decorated with pot plants and trees.
One officer said it had been ‘very peaceful’ and the protesters had been ‘really pleasant’.
A bright pink boat became the focus for hundreds of activists stopping traffic at Oxford Circus, where some used makeshift devices to lock their arms together.
Roads were also closed and drivers diverted around Marble Arch and Piccadilly Circus. At Parliament Square, people unfurled banners, held up placards and waved flags as speakers took to the stage.
London’s protests were part of a wider campaign which will see people in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries hold similar demonstrations on environmental issues, campaigners said.
Organisers said: ‘The International Rebellion begins and Extinction Rebellion will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks.
‘They will be blocking five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion where they invite people to join them for several days of creative, artist-led resistance.’
The movement has received support from actress and activist Dame Emma Thompson and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Speaking at a meditation on the eve of the protests, Dr Williams said humans had declared war on nature.
He said: ‘We are here tonight to declare that we do not wish to be at war. We wish to make peace with ourselves by making peace with our neighbour Earth and with our God.’
Scotland Yard said it had ‘appropriate policing plans’ for the demonstrations and officers would be used from across the force ‘to support the public order operation during the coming weeks’.
Police advised people travelling around London in the coming days to allow extra time for their journey in the event of road closures and general disruption.
The faces behind the climate change chaos: From the ‘neo-pagan’ mother who became an activist after taking psychedelic drugs, to failed organic farmer and a baronet’s daughter
The middle-class activists behind the chaos caused by climate change protests this week include a ‘neo-pagan’ mother, failed organic farmer and a baronet’s daughter.
One of the Extinction Rebellion co-founders, Simon Bramwell was taken away in a police van after supergluing himself to the glass door of the Shell HQ in London.
Also leading the group, known as ‘XR’, is Gail Bradbrook who became an activist as a direct result of taking huge doses of two powerful psychedelic drugs.
Another of those involved in the group is Tasmin Osmond, the granddaughter of Dorset baronet Sir Thomas Lees who read English at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Simon Bramwell (left) was taken away in a police van after supergluing himself to the glass door of the Shell HQ in London yesterday. One of the directors of private limited company Compassionate Revolution, which has partly financed XR, is mother Gail Bradbrook (right)
Simon Bramwell, who was seen shouting as he was held by police yesterday, is a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion from Stroud, Gloucestershire, and a former builder.
The 46-year-old was part of a 12-strong group of middle class fanatics who admitted bringing the M4 and A4 to a standstill by lying down on a stretch of the motorway.
He was sentenced in 2016 over the protest against the expansion of Heathrow. He has been repeatedly arrested for climate change and anti-fracking protests.
The bush craft instructor says ‘hearing less birds in our beautiful countryside’ – where he goes off the grid for up to 19 days at a time – convinced him to help form ‘XR’.
He wanted a ‘punchier’ eco-movement where people were willing to be arrested to be heard instead of just ‘playing it safe’ and failing to get their message across.
One of the directors of private limited company Compassionate Revolution, which has organised and partly financed XR, is Wiltshire mother Gail Bradbrook, 47.
The ‘neo-pagan’ said on a recent podcast that she decided to become an activist as a direct result of taking huge doses of two powerful psychedelic drugs.
Despite the damage caused by air travel, she flew to Costa Rica to take a dose of ibogaine, a hallucinogenic shrub growing in West Africa.
Ms Bradbrook, who has a PhD in molecular biophysics, also tried ayahuasca, a highly toxic, mind-bending potion made by Amazon jungle shamans.
She said the drugs ‘rewired’ her brain and gave her ‘the codes of social change’. Afterwards, she ended her marriage and began her activism in XR.
Tasmin Osmond (left), 35, is a veteran of ‘direct actions’, while Roger Hallam (right), 52, is a veteran demonstrator who is researching a PhD in effective radical campaigning
Within XR, she holds mystic ‘moon circles’ with female colleagues inside a tepee, at which they ingest another ‘natural’ drug, mugwort, used by ancient Celts.
Ms Bradbrook has warned that warming in the Arctic is likely to cause ‘the collapse of the food system’ in just three years – a belief no scientist would endorse.
She has also said she ‘does not condemn’ protesters who ‘choose to damage property in order to protect nature’, although she personally prefers non-violence.
Also involved is Tasmin Osmond, 35, a veteran of ‘direct actions’ such as Occupy London, the poverty protest which set up a camp outside St Paul’s cathedral in 2011.
The granddaughter of Dorset baronet Sir Thomas Lees, Omond went to Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read English.
Ms Osmond was thrown out of anti-aviation group Plane Stupid after saying the green movement ‘brand’ was ‘unwashed, unshaven and up a tree’.
Another of the founders of Extinction Rebellion is Roger Hallam, 52, a veteran demonstrator who is researching a PhD in effective radical campaigning.
He became interested in climate change in his 40s when an organic farm he ran in Wales went bankrupt because of extreme weather conditions.
Mr Hallam went on hunger strike in 2017 to demand King’s College London stop investing in fossil fuels.
His stated ambition for the group is to ‘bring down all the regimes in the world and replace them’, starting with Britain.
XR co-founder Stuart Basden (left), 36, a middle-class writer from Bristol, while George Barda (right), 43, believes the ‘Criminal UK Government’ is to blame for climate change
In a recent video on YouTube, he said protesters should be ready to cause disruption through personal ‘sacrifice’. If necessary, they ‘should be willing to die’.
Mr Hallam said in the past: ‘You need about 400 to go to prison and you need two to three thousand people to get arrested.’
But yesterday, he insisted: ‘No-one wants to get arrested. I want to get back to my farm. I’m just a poor farmer, nothing special.’
He added: ‘We aren’t throwing stones or shouting. People are coming in to central London and sitting down. We are causing disruption and it’s justified.’
Mr Hallam has also claimed paralysing traffic will eventually cause food shortages and trigger uprisings.
Laura Reeves is also involved in the protest group after she was left feeling ‘deflated’ by ‘office activism’ having worked for NGOs including the United Nations.
The actress and artistic director took to the stage at Marble Arch yesterday to address hundreds of activists. She describes herself as a ‘vision holder’ for XR.
Miss Reeves, whose online show reel lists roles in commercials for River Island and Nikuma Jewellery, has previously lived in New York but is now based in London.
She flaunts photos of holidays in far flung destinations such as Peru and the Burning Man festival in Nevada on social media, despite the damage caused by air travel.
She said: ‘This just isn’t a priority for the government but this is literally a matter of life and death, there will be no future unless drastic steps are taken.
‘Half of life, half the world’s species, has become extinct since the 1970s. The government needs to declare a climate emergency.’
Miss Reeves urged members of the crowd to put their heads together and discuss ways in which they could help make their message resonate.
‘We have got to come together or we will become extinct,’ she said ‘People are now starting to wake up. How can anything be more important than life on Earth?’
Also involved in the group is 43-year-old George Barda, who believes the ‘Criminal UK Government’ is to blame for climate change.
He is a post-graduate student at King’s College in London and the son of classical music and stage photographer Clive Barda.
But Mr Barda is also a dedicated revolutionary who camped outside St Paul’s cathedral in the Occupy London campaign.
Today, he is a director of XR parent company Compassionate Revolution and regularly appears on Russia Today, Russia’s controversial British TV channel.
Meanwhile XR co-founder Stuart Basden, 36, a middle-class writer from Bristol, has goals that go far beyond a desire to curb global warming.
He has claimed: ‘The climate’s breakdown is a symptom of a toxic system that has infected the ways we relate to each other as humans and to all life.’
Basden has urged XR followers to embrace jail, where he spent a week after defacing London’s City Hall with spray paint last year, saying it is ‘a bit like boarding school’.