An estimated 6,000+ of people, including opponents of fracking from across the UK, closed five bridges in central London to highlight their concerns about climate change.
Eighty five people were arrested, most for obstruction of the highway, after sit-down protests blocked Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars and Southwark bridges.
The actions were the climax to the first week of a fortnight of civil disobedience, organised by the group Extinction Rebellion over what it sees as government inaction on climate change.
The group said activists were prepared to risk arrest to ensure the world avoids climate breakdown.
They are calling for the UK to:
- declare a state of emergency around climate change;
- create a zero carbon economy by 2025;
- create a national assembly of ordinary people to decide what a zero carbon future would look like.
Extinction Rebellion said this was the first time in living memory that a protest group had deliberately blocked the five bridges of central London.
Celia B, of Extinction Rebellion, said:
“We are peacefully standing up for the earth and for humanity. People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like”.
Waterloo bridge was blocked at about 10.30am, Westminster at 10.52am, followed by Blackfriars, Lambeth at 11.01am and Southwark at 11.15am.
Today’s protest was followed by a march, and rally and tree planting ceremony in Parliament Square attended by an estimated 3,000 people.
Inka Stafrace, of Extinction Rebelliion, said:
“The tree planing ceremony at Parliament Square is symbolic of the dedication we must employ to regenerate our forests and all our natural lands. We must develop our cities with absolute resolve to make our cities green.”
More than 50 people were arrested earlier in the week follow protests across London.
Photos by Eddie Thornton