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Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protesters converge on Wesminster


By PA News

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Several people were arrested as Extinction Rebellion protesters kicked off two weeks of civil disobedience outside Parliament.

Thousands of campaigners descended on Parliament Square on Tuesday afternoon where they blocked roads, bringing traffic to a standstill, chanted, banged drums and made a range of speeches.

At least 10 were carried away by officers after the group refused to move from the roads around Parliament Square, with the Metropolitan Police later confirming that 65 people had been arrested on suspicion of public order offences as of 4pm.

Protesters chanted and cheered as the officers took them away to nearby police vans.

Video footage posted online showed demonstrator John Lynes, in his 90s, being led away from Parliament Square by police.

Mr Lynes, who has taken part in previous demonstrations, was filmed walking with a stick, flanked by officers.

Four marches converged in Westminster after the Met had said the gatherings could only take place off the main roads at Parliament Square between 8am and 7pm.

The force said on Tuesday night that the same conditions would be imposed on further demonstrations planned for Wednesday.

Campaigners enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere, waving flags and banners as they demanded the Government take the “climate crisis” seriously.

Members of the Red Brigade take part in an Extinction Rebellion demonstration (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Members of the Red Brigade take part in an Extinction Rebellion demonstration (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

One protester, Karen Wildin, 56, a tutor from Leicester, told the PA news agency: “I’m here today because I have serious concerns about the future of the planet – we need to put this above anything else.

“Never mind Covid, never mind A-levels, this is the biggest crisis facing us and we need to raise the message as loudly as possible.

“Not a lot has been done on this issue, everyone needs to hear the message.”

Police stand beside a laying protester during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in central London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Police stand beside a laying protester during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in central London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sarah Lunnon, a prominent member of Extinction Rebellion, said: “The failure to act on this issue will have a catastrophic impact on the future of us and the generations to come.

“We want to occupy Parliament Square to make our voices heard. Of course we’re in the middle of a pandemic but we’re balancing the risk, this is the biggest issue facing us.”

Last year, more than 1,700 arrests were made during Extinction Rebellion’s 10-day “Autumn Uprising”, which saw major disruption across the UK.

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