Police seek to contain rebellion as activists block streets

 

The Metropolitan Police have made nearly 300 arrests as climate change activists blocked key parts of the capital’s road network, closing 55 bus routes.

On Monday (15 April) as part of internationally co-ordinated protests, activists from campaign group Extinction Rebellion assembled at ‘five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations around the clock in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion’ that is intended to last two weeks.

Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square were targeted while ‘Extinction Rebellion Youth’ gathered at Hyde Park Corner and made their way towards Piccadilly Circus.

They have also since disrupted services on the London Underground.

On Tuesday, chief superintendent Colin Wingrove said: ‘The Metropolitan Police Service is currently dealing with a number of demonstrations taking place across London.

‘We need to ensure we are striking the right balance between allowing the right to a peaceful protest, while ensuring disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.

‘We are working hard with partners including Transport for London to keep London moving and open for businesses and visitors alike.

‘At this time, ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruptions to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business. As such a 24 hour condition was imposed at 18:55hrs last night which stipulated that protestors should continue any demonstrations within the Marble Arch area only.'

Chief superintendent Wingrove said that in order to impose this condition, the Met required evidence of serious disruption, which included 55 bus routes closed and 500,000 people affected as a result.

He said: ‘We are taking positive action against those who are choosing to ignore this condition and are continuing to demonstrate in other areas across London.

‘We expect demonstrations to continue throughout the coming weeks.‘

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said that while he shared the concern about climate change and supported the right to protest, he was 'extremely concerned about the plans some protestors have to disrupt the London Underground' today.

'It is absolutely crucial to get more people using public transport, as well as walking and cycling, if we are to tackle this climate emergency - and millions of Londoners depend on the Underground network to get about their daily lives in our city. Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change, as well as risking Londoners’ safety, and I’d implore anyone considering doing so to think again.

'In the meantime, we are working with Transport for London, the British Transport Police, the Metropolitan Police and other emergency services to minimise any disruption for Londoners and to ensure the continued safe operation of the capital’s transport network.'

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