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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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276 people arrested during Extinction Rebellion protests in London

Climate protests were held in cities around the globe today.

Police remove a protester from the Extinction Rebellion protest in Trafalgar Square in London
Police remove a protester from the Extinction Rebellion protest in Trafalgar Square in London
Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

HUNDREDS OF CLIMATE ACTIVISTS have been arrested around the world as protesters began two weeks of civil disobedience demanding immediate action to save the Earth from “extinction”.

The demonstrations, triggered by the group Extinction Rebellion, saw hundreds take to the streets in each city, following similar Greta Thunberg-inspired protests last month.

The group called the protests to demand that governments drastically cut the carbon emissions that scientists have shown cause devastating climate change.

In London, where the Extinction Rebellion movement was born last year, 276 people were detained as demonstrators put up structures near the House of Commons in Westminster.

“Getting arrested sends a message to the government that otherwise law-abiding citizens are desperate,” IT consultant Oshik Romem, from Israel but working in Britain for 19 years, told AFP.

Across the globe, protesters chained themselves to vehicles and other structures and lay down in the middle of streets in defiance of police across Europe and parts of Asia, Africa and North America.

In Dublin, a small demonstration began at 12.30pm and campaigners parked a pink yacht outside the Department of Taoiseach, where they called on Leo Varadkar to listen to their demands to reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions.

Protesters later began to swarm traffic in various parts of the city for a number of hours, and shut down a section of the Luas Red line for a short time.

A makeshift encampment was also set up in Merrion Square, which will act as the unofficial hub of protests for the remainder of the week.

extinction-rebellion-protests Protesters in tents in Victoria Street, outside Westminster Abbey in London Source: PA Wire/PA Images

‘Running out of time’

At New York’s Battery Park, some 200 demonstrators took part in a “funeral march” to Wall Street, where protesters threw fake blood over the financial district’s famous bronze statue of a bull.

“We need imagery like this in order to get people’s attention,” 29-year-old James Comiskey told AFP, as he carried a cardboard coffin in the procession.

Police arrested more than a dozen people who staged a “die-in” – in which people lay down as if they were dead – beside the bull.

Protests occurred in 60 cities around the world, including New Delhi, Cape Town, Paris, Vienna, Madrid, and Buenos Aires.

Hundreds of Australians joined a sit-in on a busy inner Sydney road before being dragged away by the police. Thirty people were later charged.

“We have tried petitions, lobbying and marches, and now time is running out,” Australian activist Jane Morton said.

Australia’s conservative government has resisted adopting new environmental standards and backed lucrative coal exports.

Dutch police said they arrested 90 people after Extinction Rebellion members occupied a bridge outside the famed Rijksmuseum art gallery.

nyc-activists-covered-wall-street-bull-in-blood Activists covered the Wall Street Bull in blood and perform a die-in around it in New York Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Reduce harmful emissions

Extinction Rebellion is demanding governments commit themselves to a net-zero target for harmful emissions by 2025, as well as holding “citizens assemblies” to decide on policies to achieve that aim.

There has been less movement in other parts of Europe or the most impacted cities of Asia. And not everyone out on the streets was impressed with the campaign.

“They’re taking it out on everyday people trying to go about their business. They should go after big people,” London taxi driver Dave Chandler told AFP.

Extinction Rebellion responded by saying that emergencies like the one heating up the climate demands action from everyone across the world.

Hundreds barricaded themselves inside a Paris shopping center for hours over the weekend.

Groups unfurled banners with slogans such as “Burn capitalism, not petrol” above Paris restaurants and fashion boutiques.

And hundreds brought blankets and sleeping bags to one of the main roundabouts in central Berlin, which police expect to be shut down for many days.

Last week, a spokesman for the group told TheJournal.ie that the purpose of causing disruption was to tell the government that it was not sufficiently dealing with the climate crisis.

“As far as we’re concerned, out house is on fire, so we have to break some windows to save people inside,” he said.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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