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Dublin: 3°C Friday 26 February 2021

'A logistical problem': Over 800 people arrested in Extinction Rebellion protests in London

The climate change protests have now entered a seventh day.

Extinction Rebellion protests A climate change protester is removed by police. Source: Victoria Jones/PA Images

OVER 800 PEOPLE have been arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests in London. 

Demonstrators continued to block Waterloo Bridge in the city and the central Oxford Circus junction yesterday despite the removal by police of the pink sailing boat which had acted as a natural focal point for the movement.

Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus have now re-opened, the Metropolitan Police (MET) has said. But protesters remain at Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square. 

The MET said today that 831 people had been arrested and that 40 people have now been charged in relation to the protests, which have caused disruption for commuters in London. 

The protests are organised by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion, which was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing environmental movements.

Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice”.

On Friday, climate change demonstrators in Dublin staged a sit-down protest on O’Connell Bridge in the city centre. 

Police in London have been trying to confine the protests to one site in the capital, at Marble Arch on the corner of Hyde Park, but the protesters have ignored the threat of arrest and continued to block other sites.

“We are trying our best to give the businesses a chance to return to ‘business as usual’,” police said.

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“One thing that is unusual about this demonstration is the willingness of those participating to be arrested and also their lack of resistance to the arrests.”

The large number of arrests has created a “logistical problem” for police in terms of cell space but also the “wider criminal justice system”.

With reporting from © AFP 2019

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