Thousands of climate protesters caused mass disruption as they blocked some of London’s busiest roads and bridges on Monday.
Campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR) is demanding the government declare a climate emergency and for it to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.
“We don’t want to disrupt people, but our Government’s failure over the last 30 years leaves us no choice but to bring this to people’s attention,” an XR spokesperson said.
“If we had functioning democracies we wouldn’t need to disrupt everyday lives. We’ve tried petitions, marches, letters, reports, papers, meetings, even direct actions; and global emissions have continued to rise.”
Protesters occupied and blocked traffic at Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Piccadilly Circus.
The group invited activists to refuse to move and allow themselves to be arrested.
Activists are holding their ground on Waterloo Bridge. Arrests are being made to the beautiful chorus of singers in full harmony #extinctionrebellion #conscientiousprotectors pic.twitter.com/z1XdAa749Q
— Extinction Rebellion 🐝⌛️🦋 (@ExtinctionR) April 15, 2019
One of the leading organisers, Roger Hallam, said: “You need about 400 to go to prison and you need two to three thousand people to get arrested.
“You win through fearlessness. This is not some pretty process where everyone’s going to be fine, but it’s better than violence.”
The Met imposed a 24-hour condition at 6.55pm telling protesters on Waterloo Bridge to continue any demonstrations within the Marble Arch area only.
Police made 117 arrests – the majority for suspected breaches of Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “We are taking positive action against those who are choosing to ignore this condition and are continuing to demonstrate in other areas across London.”
“There is a need to ensure the right balance is struck between allowing the right to peaceful protest, while disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.”
Three arrests were made at Shell’s headquarters after activists vandalised the building with messages like “Shell knew” and glued themselves to the doors.
A Shell spokesperson said: “We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind.”
There was a fun and relaxed atmosphere at Waterloo Bridge in the morning and afternoon. Parents brought their children and there was music, dance, live singing, art and skateboarding.
At Parliament Square, leaders of the movement and public speakers took turns addressing the crowds on the lawn outside the main gates. Protesters held up banners and sang “power to the people”.
The youth marched down from Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus at around lunchtime to a procession of drumming and chanting.
Protests are scheduled to continue in the capital over the next two weeks.