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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Climate change protesters in London defy police orders by gluing themselves in place

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described activists as “unco-operative crusties”.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters camp in tents around the Monument to the Women of World War II on Whitehall in Westminster.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters camp in tents around the Monument to the Women of World War II on Whitehall in Westminster.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

EXTINCTION REBELLION PROTESTERS have glued themselves to buildings after being warned they face arrest on the second day of their international action.

Climate change activists camped overnight to maintain their stronghold on parts of central London, telling police they were prepared to be taken into custody for failing to comply with orders to move their protest to a single site at Trafalgar Square.

Police handed out notices across Westminster this morning, where campaigners kept an overnight vigil, in an attempt to reduce the disruption in the capital and concentrate the action on one area.

However, protesters glued themselves to the Department for Transport building and to the underside of a lorry outside the Home Office in defiance of the notices.

In a statement this afternoon, the Met said any group wishing to continue with their Extinction Rebellion protest “must” go to Trafalgar Square, adding: “The condition does not have a time limit.

“In order to impose this condition, the Met required evidence that serious disruption was being caused to communities in London.

“The Met believes that this action is necessary in order to prevent the demonstrations from causing serious disruption to the community.

“Anyone who fails to comply with the condition is liable to arrest and prosecution.”

The Met Police said it had arrested 152 people.

The force said they had arrested another 319 people on Monday, well over the 122 arrests made on the first day of similar protests last April.

However, Scotland Yard was unable to provide further details on what people were arrested on suspicion of.

It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson described activists as “unco-operative crusties”.

Claudia Fisher, 57, from Brighton, said: “We are a little bit crusty, I’ll put my hands up to it, after a night sleeping out on the grounds of Whitehall, but we’re not unco-operative. We’re actually very co-operative.

“We don’t take offence, we don’t have blame, we don’t go around calling people names, that’s not the way we do things.

“We actually really value what everyone has to say and would really like to hear what he has to say.

“We’d really like him to show us the same respect and hear what we have to say.”

extinction-rebellion-protests Tents erected by protesters during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest in Trafalgar Square. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Former Metropolitan Police detective sergeant John Curran, 49, who camped overnight at the protests, said he was willing to be arrested again after being detained by officers during the first round of action in April.

Mr Curran, who is father to a three-year-old daughter and now makes guitars for a living in Oxford, said: “I am willing to be arrested again unless some changes happen.

“Clearly there is some frustration (for the police) that they probably have better things to be doing, and I agree, but the responsibility for that must lie with the Government. Take action and we won’t have to be here.”

He added: “I’m not going to stoop to his (Mr Johnson’s) level of name-calling. Take action: that’s the only demand that I have.”

An Extinction Rebellion lorry, parked outside the Home Office, became a focal point for some activists who glued themselves underneath the vehicle while several hundred protesters spent Tuesday sat on either side of the police blockade at the building.

Some 200 protesters are thought to have camped in tents overnight on nearby Horseferry Road and the surrounding area.

Many said they were prepared to stay in their makeshift camp.

Activist Mike Gumn, 33, from Bristol, camped overnight wearing a suit and a flat cap to show the protest “is for everyone”.

Mr Gumn, an NHS manager who has children aged two and three, said: “I have a job, I have taken annual leave to be here.

“I’d rather be with my family.

“I want to make a statement that (the activists) are all different sorts of people from all different walks of life, not just people you would call hippies.”

On being arrested, he said: “We will decide as a group when we are going to move, and we are not going to let police tell us when.

“I would not like to get arrested, but if that happens when I am exercising my right to protest and deliver a good life for my children, then I will take it on the chin.”

Further disruption is expected throughout the week.

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