Protesters react as they listen to a speaker during a blockade of Waterloo Bridge on the second day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group, in London on Tuesday.
Nearly 300 people have been arrested in ongoing climate change protests in London that brought parts of the British capital to a standstill, police said on Tuesday.
Demonstrators began blocking off a bridge and major central road junctions on Monday at the start of a civil disobedience campaign that also saw action in other parts of Europe.
The protests were 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.
London’s Metropolitan Police said that by Tuesday evening, 290 arrests had been made.
“We expect demonstrations to continue throughout the coming weeks,” the police statement said.
The arrest figure includes three men and two women who were detained at the UK offices of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell on suspicion of criminal damage.
Campaigners daubed graffiti and smashed a window at the Shell Centre building.
The majority arrested were seized for breaching public order laws and obstructing a highway.
The protest saw more than a thousand people block off central London’s Waterloo Bridge and lay trees in pots along its length. Later, people set up camps in Hyde Park in preparation for further demonstrations throughout the week.
The police have ordered the protesters to confine themselves to a zone within Marble Arch, a space at the junction of Hyde Park, the Oxford Street main shopping thoroughfare and the Park Lane street of plush hotels.
A police officer approaches a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London on Tuesday. Peter Nicholls /Reuters
“We so far have 55 bus routes closed and 500,000 people affected as a result,” the police said.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “extremely concerned” about protesters’ plans to disrupt the underground on Wednesday.
“Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change,” he said in a statement.
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.”
Extinction Rebellion spokesman James Fox said the group had attempted to maintain a blockade overnight at four sites in central London before the police came to impose the new restriction.
Protesters attached themselves to vehicles and to each other using bicycle locks, said the spokesman.
“We have no intention of leaving until the government listens to us,” he said.
“Many of us are willing to sacrifice our liberty for the cause.”
Under sunny skies, activists sang songs or held signs that read "There is no Planet B" and "Extinction is forever" at some of the capital's most iconic locations.
Very few decision makers questioned whether the police’s approach to protest was heavy-handed until now and this is because it’s white people raising these concerns. Prior to this, peacefully protesting Black people were talking, shouting,
The Metropolitan Police Service said it had made 36 arrests, most for breaching months-old virus regulations that outlaw leaving home except for a limited number of reasons.
Protesters waved witty and sometimes rude placards at a what organizers called a "Carnival of Resistance" in Trafalgar Square while Prime Minister Theresa May was in talks with the president a short distance away in Downing Street.
Rescuers, including the Philippine Coast Guard and fishermen, saved 195 passengers and 35 crew as the blaze ripped through the ferry off Baluk-Baluk Island in Basilan province.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed expressed his thanks to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad for his congratulations and the sincere fraternal feelings he showed, wishing the brotherly State of Qatar and its people further progress and development.
Sheikh Sultan’s statement reads, “The Ruler of Sharjah congratulates Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his appointment as Vice President."
Sheikh Mohammed said, “I congratulate my brothers Sheikh Hazaa, Sheikh Tahnoun, Sheikh Mansour and Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed for the confidence in the President of the State. In you and your brothers, the leaders of the new generation, the march continues.”