Some of London’s busiest streets re-opened yesterday for the first time in a week as climate change protesters regrouped and plotted a new course after police made more than 1,000 arrests.
The so-called Extinction Rebellion took over the heart of the capital in a bid to focus global attention on rising temperatures and sea levels caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
The grassroots group was established last year in Britain by academics and has used social media to become one of the fastest-growing environmental movements worldwide.
But it has abandoned four of five main protests sites in response to a more forceful police response and an outcry from local businesses that claimed a heavy loss in sales. London mayor Sadiq Khan also warned Sunday that protests were starting to overstretch the police and limiting their ability to respond to daily crime.
“It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk like this,” Khan said.
Extinction Rebellion organisers retreated by yesterday to Marble Arch — a monument on the edge of Hyde Park that allows limited protests to continue without disrupting traffic.
The site has been sanctioned by the police. About 100 activists also lay day down under the gigantic skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling of the main hall of London’s Natural History Museum for a self-described “die-in”.
Extinction Rebellion tweeted that the action was meant to deliver a warning about an oncoming “sixth mass extinction”.
The police said they had made 1,065 arrests and charged 53 people since the first protests took over a bridge and renowned London intersections such as Piccadilly and Oxford Circus.
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