Traffic Jams, Mass Arrests, Piles Of Litter: Five Days Of Climate Change Protests Rock London

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor
  • Climate change protesters have descended on London for the past five days, demanding the government take action on global warming.
  • London police have arrested hundreds of protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion.
  • Critics say Extinction Rebellion is more about promoting “Marxism” than actually tackling global warming.

Climate change protesters have spent the last five days causing havoc in London, blocking traffic, threatening to disrupt Heathrow airport and littering en masse.

Extinction Rebellion, the group behind the mass protests, is demanding the U.K. government implement laws to bring greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025. This is the same group that recently staged a nude protest in Parliament.

“In a time of climate breakdown and ecological collapse, telling the truth is a rebellious act,” the group tweeted Friday as protesters swarmed central London for another day of demonstrations. Earlier in the week, protesters glued themselves to the London subway.

Extinction Rebellion says it’s intentionally breaking the law to not only gain attention, but also use subsequent court hearings to “tell the courts that without an urgent and radical change of course” climate change will “likely to be catastrophic,” the group’s website reads.

The group also wants to change international law to make “ecocide” a punishable crime. The group defines ecocide as “human activities that cause extensive damage to, destruction of, or loss of ecosystems of a given territory.”

However, their critics accused protesters of being more interested in implementing “Marxism” than tackling climate change. (RELATED: The ‘Biggest Implication’ Of Mueller’s Report Has Nothing To Do With Obstruction, Experts Say)

Telegraph columnist Ross Clark wrote “the reality is that these are hardened, wraggle-haired protesters who have made a life out of trying to disrupt global capitalism.”

London police have made more than 570 arrests, according to BBC. Protesters have spent the past five days unfurling banners, carrying signs and reciting poetry as they held up traffic in central London.

“This is very, very difficult for us because my colleagues have never come across the situation that they are faced with at the moment,” Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, told BBC.

“They are dealing with very, very passive people, probably quite nice people, who don’t want confrontation whatsoever with the police or anyone else but are breaking the law,” Marsh said.

Extinction Rebellion protest in London

Climate change activists attend the demonstration at Oxford Circus during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls.

Extinction Rebellion protest in London

Police officers detain a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls.

Protesters blocked roads and bridges, disrupting commutes for many Londoners just trying to get on with their day. Actress Emma Thompson joined protesters Friday, though she only did so by flying thousands from Los Angeles.

A small group of protesters showed up to Heathrow Friday after activists threatened to disrupt air travel over the Easter holiday weekend. London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned protesters against disrupting traffic at Heathrow.

“It is being reported that climate protestors are planning to disrupt Heathrow Airport tomorrow,”  Khan tweeted Thursday. “This is extremely dangerous, illegal and is putting an unacceptable toll on our police force and our city.”

Throughout the week, Londoners have complained about longer commutes because of blocked bridges and roads. Some residents also complained of litter left behind by protesters.

Protests are expected to continue. Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg said she wants to join protesters on her visit to London next week. Thunberg is credited with inspiring mass climate protests across Europe and the U.S., demanding governments do more to cut emissions.

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