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Londoners rage at second day of Extinction Rebellion action

Almost 300 people have been arrested in London in connection with ongoing climate change protests, with organisers now vowing to escalate their disruption to target the London Underground tomorrow.

As the second day of coordinated protests at five London locations drew to a close, groups of police officers continued to lift activists off the ground and manhandle them away from demonstrations at Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge having issued Section 14 notices ordering crowds to disperse.

Earlier, organisers Extinction Rebellion called on more protesters to flood onto the bridge help with their stand-off, which police said had shut down 55 bus routes and inconvenienced 500,000 people’s journeys. 

A further 168 people have been arrested through the course of today, the Metropolitan Police said, bringing the total arrests to 290 since the protests began yesterday morning.  Almost all have been for obstructing the highway, in contravention of a police order attempting to restrict the protests to the area around Marble Arch.

Tomorrow the group have threatened to target Tube stations, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying he was ‘extremely concerned’ at the prospect of transport hubs being targeted. 

The campaign group said it is planning to ‘non-violently disrupt Tube services to highlight the emergency of ecological collapse’ on Wednesday if the Government does not meet its members.

It added: ‘Participants will peacefully break the law in order to stop the Tube and then will wait to be arrested.

‘We sincerely apologise to all those who may suffer as a consequence of this disruption. In any other circumstances we would never dream of disrupting the Tube but this is an emergency.

‘We request that workers do not intervene in the protests to ensure that they go as smoothly and safely as possible for all involved.’

It is not clear how the group plans to disrupt Tube services.

As night fell police continued to arrest and remove unresisting protesters who had refused to leave the Oxford Circus demo

Police start making arrests after issuing protesters with a Section 14 notice at an impromptu rave at Oxford Circus as hundreds of environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion

Police start making arrests after issuing protesters with a Section 14 notice at an impromptu rave at Oxford Circus as hundreds of environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion

Yesterday police ordered protesters to disperse from Waterloo Bridge and today they issued the same instruction for Oxford Circus - before moving in when they were ignored

Yesterday police ordered protesters to disperse from Waterloo Bridge and today they issued the same instruction for Oxford Circus – before moving in when they were ignored

Today police warned people blocking Waterloo Bridge under the public order act and then arrested them if they refuse to move to Marble Arch

Today police warned people blocking Waterloo Bridge under the public order act and then arrested them if they refuse to move to Marble Arch

A police officer talks to a protester as they remove people from a blockade on Waterloo Bridge during the second day of a coordinated protest by the Extinction Rebellion group

A police officer talks to a protester as they remove people from a blockade on Waterloo Bridge during the second day of a coordinated protest by the Extinction Rebellion group

 The activists – responsible for a naked protest in Parliament earlier this month – want ministers to set a legally-binding target to reduce net carbon emission to zero by 2025. 

This evening it emerged that police met members of Extinction Rebellion several times as they plotted to ‘shut down London’. 

How a shortage of police cells may have hampered arrests

Police had to delay arresting protesters because they had allegedly run out of cells.

The Met has 638 cells operating 24 hours a day. But refurbishments at Charing Cross police station, where there are 42 cells, hampered efforts to arrest eco-activists yesterday.

The only other custody suites in central London are in Belgravia, where there are 12 cells, and West End Central, where there are 28 cells.

Police were overheard discussing how they had reached ‘maximum capacity’, leading to a pause in arrests.

Activists also claimed they had been told by officers that cells were ‘full’. Last night, the 204 arrested for protesting on Waterloo Bridge were all in custody. 

On Monday, many activists were surprised to find police happy for their demonstration to go ahead. Despite the protest causing havoc for motorists, the first arrests were only made following vandalism of the headquarters of Shell.

Roger Hallam, one of Extinction Rebellion’s founders, said the group had ‘four or five meetings’ with police before the protests began.

Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said: ‘We need to ensure we are striking the right balance between allowing the right to a peaceful protest, while ensuring disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.

 ‘We have significant resources in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and officers out on the ground who are well-trained in maintaining public order.’

The Mayor said he ‘shared the passion’ of those protesting climate change, and remained a ‘staunch supporter’ of the right to peaceful protest, but said: ‘However I am extremely concerned about the plans some protesters have to disrupt the London Underground tomorrow.

‘It is absolutely crucial to get more people using public transport, as well as walking and cycling, if we are to tackle this climate emergency – and millions of Londoners depend on the Underground network to get about their daily lives in our city. 

‘Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change, as well as risking Londoners’ safety, and I’d implore anyone considering doing so to think again.’

Police have now banned protesters from Waterloo Bridge for the rest of the week but it is unclear how many people remain there.

Earlier a Metropolitan Police Service spokesman said: ‘A 24hour condition was imposed at 18:55hrs on Monday, 15 April which stipulated that protesters on Waterloo Bridge should continue any demonstrations within the Marble Arch area only.

‘As of 16:45hrs today, the same condition has been implemented to those in the Oxford Circus area. Protesters are again being advised to continue any demonstrations in the Marble Arch area.’

Police said they had evidence of ‘serious disruption’ being caused – including 55 bus routes closed and 500,000 people affected. 

Some 122 people were arrested over the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations across five sites in 24 hours, with protesters using the slogan ‘this is an emergency’ – but leaving many commuters angry at the disruption.

In astonishing scenes, protesters of all ages were hauled away by up to four officers while others glued themselves to the pavement as they blocked key bus routes for a second day – forcing workers to walk to their Tube stations.

Scotland Yard said 500,000 people have been affected by the chaos, with 55 bus routes now closed and major delays on roads around Waterloo as well as Marble Arch, where police have asked the protesters to congregate.  

On Waterloo Bridge, there were loud cheers, the ringing of bells, and the blowing of whistles as protesters were arrested and taken to police vans – but many still remained, chanting for climate justice and refusing to move.

Members of the Extinction Rebellion group in Bristol, taking part in the London protests, tweeted: ‘Escalation day one: swarming. Police are arresting at Waterloo Bridge, south side. We need to overload them now!’  They urged at least 30 people to be ‘arrestables’ at Waterloo Bridge, without thinning out their other locations.

Demonstrations continued today during a possible fortnight of action, with Extinction Rebellion saying five sites across London, also including Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, had been held by up to 10,000 people. 

Earlier in the day police removed protesters from Waterloo Bridge after issuing a notice ordering them to disperse and reconvene at Marble Arch if they wished

Earlier in the day police removed protesters from Waterloo Bridge after issuing a notice ordering them to disperse and reconvene at Marble Arch if they wished

Police officers take away a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Police officers take away a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Police officers carry activists as they remove them from Waterloo Bridge on the second day of the protest this afternoon

A woman is taken away from Waterloo Bridge by police

Police officers carry activists as they remove them from Waterloo Bridge on the second day of the protest this afternoon

Police officers carry an activist as they remove her from the blockade of Waterloo Bridge in the environmental protest today

Police officers carry an activist as they remove her from the blockade of Waterloo Bridge in the environmental protest today

Metropolitan Police officers carry an activist as they remove him from Waterloo Bridge during the protests today

Metropolitan Police officers carry an activist as they remove him from Waterloo Bridge during the protests today

Police officers go to lift up a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge as they carry her away from the protest today

Police officers go to lift up a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge as they carry her away from the protest today

Demonstrators are taken away from Waterloo Bridge during the second day of the Extinction Rebellion protest today

A man holds up his hand as he is taken away by police

Demonstrators are taken away from Waterloo Bridge during the second day of the Extinction Rebellion protest today

A police officer removes an activist from the blockade on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

A police officer removes an activist from the blockade on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

The (very middle-class) voices of the Rebellion

Jane Augsburger, 54, from Stroud, Glos was arrested for criminal damage outside Shell's headquarters on Monday

Jane Augsburger, 54, from Stroud, Glos was arrested for criminal damage outside Shell’s headquarters on Monday

The care worker: Jane Augsburger, 54, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, was one of those arrested for criminal damage outside Shell’s headquarters on Monday. Pictures show the mother-of-one grinning and kneeling down beside a smashed glass door at the front of the company’s office building. The care worker, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, previously lived in the Dordogne in a luxurious home with a pool.

The proud parent: Katerina Hasapopoulos, 40, superglued herself to the Shell headquarters on Monday. Before her arrest, the mother-of-three said: ‘Shell is already responsible for destroying lives in places like Nigeria.Shell cares only for profit and I have three beautiful young girls who I want to see grow up to have a future.’ She has previously attended Stroud Town Council to ask questions about climate change.

The motorway marauder: Simon Bramwell, 46, also from Stroud, is a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, and a former builder. He was taken away in a police van after supergluing himself to the Shell HQ on Monday.He was part of a group of fanatics who brought the M4 to a standstill in protest at plans to expand Heathrow in 2016. The bush craft instructor said ‘hearing less birds’ convinced him to form a ‘punchier’ environmental movement.

The jet dismantler: Angie Zelter, 76, was arrested yesterday and carried off Waterloo Bridge after refusing to budge. The veteran protester has been arrested over 100 times across the world and describes herself as a ‘global citizen’. In 1996 she was part of a group that disarmed a BAE Hawk Jet, preventing it from being exported to Indonesia.

The godmother: Dr Gail Bradbrook, 47, is described as ‘the godmother’ of Extinction Rebellion. She became an activist as a result of taking psychedelic drugs. Dr Bradbrook, who has a PhD in molecular biophysics, said drugs ‘rewired’ her brain and gave her ‘the codes of social change’. She holds ‘moon circles’ in a tepee, where she ingests mugwort.

The breast booster: Zack Polanski, a Green Party candidate for the London Assembly once claimed his hypnotherapy skills could help women grow bigger breasts. He said: ‘It’s so safe and cheaper than a boob job.’

The palace raider: Rowan Tilly, from Oxford, was among protesters who took part in an ‘anti-nuclear raid’ at Buckingham Palace in 1993. The furniture maker compared her civil disobedience to the actions of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the suffragettes.

The organic farmer: Roger Hallam, 52, became interested in climate change in his 40s when an organic farm he ran in Wales went bust because of bad weather. He now wants to ‘bring down all the regimes in the world’, starting with Britain.

The actress: Laura Reeves, an actress and artistic director from London, has previously lived in New York and worked for the United Nations. Her show reel lists roles in adverts for River Island and Nikuma Jewellery. She has also posted photographs of holidays in Peru and at the Burning Man festival in Nevada, US.

A protester blocking the road on Waterloo Bridge along with others was taken away in an ambulance as three waves of police moved in to make arrests. A witness said one man had knocked his head on a police van and fallen.

Cheers went out as some others were dragged away and chants of ‘We are unstoppable, another world is possible’ rang out. A small rave then began and campaigners danced in front of police and chanted ‘power to the people’.

Legal advisors with the bridge group flanked those arrested and told them not to talk to police, who have urged protesters to head to Marble Arch instead. Those arrested were lined up alongside the south side of the crossing.

Their personal details were taken before being led to police vans parked at the end of the bridge. Officers had earlier walked among the crowd of more 400 spread out across the bridge warning that they could be arrested.

This followed an earlier order imposed by Scotland Yard under the public order act. However, protesters linked arms, chanted and attempted to drown out the police from issuing instructions when the mass arrests began. 

Scotland Yard had made 122 arrests as of noon today, the majority of which were for public order offences and obstruction of the highway. While many children have joined in the protests, all of those detained were adults.

 

Officers in yellow high viz jackets marched two abreast along Waterloo Bridge after the order was given to begin the arrests. Eco activists had parked a van across the bridge and ‘planted’ dozens of trees there.

The only venue allowed for the protest was Marble Arch, but activists continued to gather on the bridge with many sitting on the floor chatting and singing songs. A mobile kitchen handed out vegetarian food to the protesters.

Many major routes in London are blocked by protesters, as shown on the map above

Many major routes in London are blocked by protesters, as shown on the map above

Police officers carry away a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

Police officers carry away a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

As police made the arrests on the bridge, they faced protesters refusing to move

Police began dragging people to police vans

As police made the arrests on the bridge, they faced protesters refusing to move and began dragging people to police vans

Environmental protesters from the Extinction Rebellion campaign group are taken away by police this afternoon

Environmental protesters from the Extinction Rebellion campaign group are taken away by police this afternoon

Police officers carry an activist from Waterloo Bridge this afternoon as the protests at five London landmarks continue

Police officers carry an activist from Waterloo Bridge this afternoon as the protests at five London landmarks continue

Protesters sit on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today as police try to arrest people

Protesters sit on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today as police try to arrest people

Environment agency chief says Climate Change is a 10/10 threat – and Brexit isn’t even 1/10

 Climate  change is a bigger problem than Brexit as ‘it could literally kill us’, Environment Agency head Sir James Bevan warned yesterday.

He said building a ‘broad coalition’ against climate change could help heal a divided country.

In a speech to the Whitehall and Industry Group charity, he said: ‘You can worry about Brexit if you want, but you’ll be worrying about the wrong thing. If you rank the things that could literally kill us on a scale of one to ten, Brexit isn’t even a one. Climate change is a ten.’

Sir James added that there were similarities between Brexit and climate change in that the timescales of both are ‘uncertain’ and ‘the consequences highly contested’.

Sir James, a career diplomat and former High Commissioner to India, said the increase in greenhouse gases would lead to rising seas, water shortages extreme weather, flooding, coastal erosion and droughts’.

The Environment Agency, which has more than 11,000 employees, is the government-funded body in charge of protecting air, water and soil quality, and flood protection.

 

Some commuters supported the protests, but others were unimpressed. Karen Buckingham tweeted: This really shouldn’t be allowed on any London road. So much disruption which I know is the point, but enough’s enough.’ 

And Peter Newport tweeted Transport for London to say: ‘Another day of disruption with no one able to get a bus in Central London. I agree with freedom of speech but if I cant get to work it’s costing me money.’ 

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove of the Metropolitan Police said at midday on Tuesday: ‘Ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruption to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business.

‘At this time we have made a total of 122 arrests, five of which were for criminal damage following disruption outside commercial premises earlier yesterday, and the remaining 117 were on Waterloo Bridge last night and in the early hours of this morning. We have significant resources in place to deal with any incidents that may arise.’

Four activists chained and glued themselves underneath a lorry on Waterloo Bridge. The campaigners stationed themselves under the lorry with blankets and sleeping bags, where they say they will stay for as long as possible.

Blythe Pepino, 34, from Hereford, said: ‘The purpose is to maintain the disruption on the bridge to bring the Government to the table and talk about the climate crisis. 

‘I think we’ll be taken more seriously over time because we’re not planning on going away. Legal marches come and go and there’s not much action or coverage on it, civil disobedience is the only way to bring urgency.’ 

Ben Moss, 42, from Islington, North London, glued himself to the lorry. He said: ‘We’re in an extreme situation, we have to take action, this is my personal action to the moral issue of the climate crisis and ecological collapse.

‘I want the Government to do something. I’ve got a week off work, if more is necessary I can make my excuses, I’m a director of a company, I work at a co-operative, but not everyone can come and do this.’ 

Roads remained closed across Westminster and the Hyde Park area, with Transport for London warning bus routes would ‘remain on diversion or curtailment in central London due to ongoing protest which are blocking roads’. 

Climate change activists march along Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Climate change activists march along Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Climate change lawyer and activist Farhana Yamin glues herself to the pavement outside the Shell building in London today

Climate change lawyer and activist Farhana Yamin glues herself to the pavement outside the Shell building in London today

Police stand guard as demonstrators camp on the road during a climate protest at Oxford Circus in London today

Police stand guard as demonstrators camp on the road during a climate protest at Oxford Circus in London today

An activist waves a flag from the porch covering the entrance to the Shell Centre in London's Waterloo this morning

An activist waves a flag from the porch covering the entrance to the Shell Centre in London’s Waterloo this morning

Climate change activists sit in a boat on the River Thames during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Climate change activists sit in a boat on the River Thames during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Demonstrators chain and glue themselves to a lorry on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

Demonstrators chain and glue themselves to a lorry on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

Armed police officers walk past the Extinction Rebellion outside Parliament Square in Westminster this morning

Armed police officers walk past the Extinction Rebellion outside Parliament Square in Westminster this morning

Activists dance as hundreds of environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion occupy Marble Arch today

Activists dance as hundreds of environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion occupy Marble Arch today

A woman plays a grand piano on Oxford Street while people use pedal power to supply electricity for the sound system today

A woman plays a grand piano on Oxford Street while people use pedal power to supply electricity for the sound system today

A couple enjoy a moment together as hundreds of protesters from Extinction Rebellion occupy Marble Arch today

A couple enjoy a moment together as hundreds of protesters from Extinction Rebellion occupy Marble Arch today

A woman plays a grand piano on Oxford Street whilst people use pedal power to supply electricity for the sound system today

A woman plays a grand piano on Oxford Street whilst people use pedal power to supply electricity for the sound system today

A group practices Yoga in the 'wellbeing tent' as hundreds of environmental protesters occupy Marble Arch today

A group practices Yoga in the ‘wellbeing tent’ as hundreds of environmental protesters occupy Marble Arch today

A solar panel array provides power for phone charging and sound systems at the Marble Arch protest site today

A solar panel array provides power for phone charging and sound systems at the Marble Arch protest site today

Hundreds of environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion are occupying Marble Arch today after setting up camp

Hundreds of environmental protesters from Extinction Rebellion are occupying Marble Arch today after setting up camp

Activists hold model insects as they demonstrate on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Activists hold model insects as they demonstrate on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London today

Activists sit in the road among trees as they continue to block traffic from crossing Waterloo Bridge in London today

Activists sit in the road among trees as they continue to block traffic from crossing Waterloo Bridge in London today

A young woman dances in front of Marble Arch as hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters occupy the area today

A young woman dances in front of Marble Arch as hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters occupy the area today

Climate change activists block a road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Parliament Square in London this morning

Climate change activists block a road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Parliament Square in London this morning

Activists block a road near Marble Arch this morning on the second day of the protest by the Extinction Rebellion group

Activists block a road near Marble Arch this morning on the second day of the protest by the Extinction Rebellion group

Activists pour drinks near Marble Arch on the second day of the protest by the Extinction Rebellion group today

Activists pour drinks near Marble Arch on the second day of the protest by the Extinction Rebellion group today

The protest continues at Oxford Circus today with more than 110 people arrested as police deal with the chaos

The protest continues at Oxford Circus today with more than 110 people arrested as police deal with the chaos

The Met also imposed a 24-hour condition for protesters to gather only at Marble Arch under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, saying that it had required evidence that serious disruption was now being caused.

Phoenix Evans, six months, with mother Liberty Evans at the climate change protest in Parliament Square today

Phoenix Evans, six months, with mother Liberty Evans at the climate change protest in Parliament Square today

A spokesman said: The information and intelligence available at this time means that that Met feels this action is necessary in order to prevent the demonstrations from causing ongoing serious disruption to community.’ 

It came after environmental protesters blocked some of London’s busiest roads and vandalised Shell’s headquarters near Waterloo yesterday as they demanded action on climate change.

A pair of protesters were today still camped out on a glass balcony above the entrance to Shell. A woman and man could be seen hoisting food up from their fellow protesters as construction workers shout ‘melts’ at them.

One construction worker at the site next door branded the protest was a ‘disgrace’ and a ‘waste of police time’.

She said: ‘I live in East London where knife and gun crime are rife and police have to be here to babysit these guys. People my age are being killed and this is where the police are. I was at my local pub the other day and a guy drove straight into it. 

‘We could have been killed and it took police a half an hour to get there and when they came there were only two of them. I know climate change is a problem, but this is not the way to do it.’ 

Her co-worker, whose nephew was stabbed to death last year in London, agreed and said the protestors were ‘not even being environmentally friendly’. 

A woman drinks as others sleep in tents at a road block near Marble Arch this morning during the Extinction Rebellion protest

A woman drinks as others sleep in tents at a road block near Marble Arch this morning during the Extinction Rebellion protest

A climate change activist walks between tents during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London today

A climate change activist walks between tents during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London today

Demonstrators stand in the road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch which is continuing this morning

Demonstrators stand in the road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch which is continuing this morning

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch in London today, as more than 100 people have been arrested

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch in London today, as more than 100 people have been arrested

Activists sit with their tents in the road after sleeping at Oxford Circus on the second day of the environmental protest today

Activists sit with their tents in the road after sleeping at Oxford Circus on the second day of the environmental protest today

Police stand next to Extinction Rebellion demonstrators as the protest continues at Marble Arch in London today

Police stand next to Extinction Rebellion demonstrators as the protest continues at Marble Arch in London today

Activists sit with their tents in the road after sleeping near Marble Arch on the second day of the environmental protest today

Activists sit with their tents in the road after sleeping near Marble Arch on the second day of the environmental protest today

A man emerges from his tent as a new day begins during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch today

A man emerges from his tent as a new day begins during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch today

Commuters cycle past a pink boat placed in the road at Oxford Circus by activists as part of the Extinction Rebellion protest

Commuters cycle past a pink boat placed in the road at Oxford Circus by activists as part of the Extinction Rebellion protest

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch in London today as the protests continue this morning

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch in London today as the protests continue this morning

He said: ‘Look at that spray paint they’ve used, what impact does that have on the Ozone layer? They are drinking from plastic bottles up there, they have black bin bags – do they not have jobs to go to?’

Another construction worker, Kyle, said: ‘I think it’s bull – it’s supposed to be a peaceful protest and they destroyed the building.’

Humans have declared war on nature, says former Archbishop of Canterbury

Humans have declared war on nature and put progress before the planet, the former Archbishop of Canterbury said on the eve of environmental protests aimed at bringing London to a standstill.

Dr Rowan Williams said the world is in a crisis which could be called ‘being at war with ourselves’.

He spoke at a meditation event outside St Paul’s Cathedral in the capital attended by activists preparing to take part in mass demonstrations organised by the Extinction Rebellion group.

Sitting on the ground amid protesters who held flags and banners, he said: ‘We have declared war on our nature when we declare war on the natural world. We are at war with ourselves when we are at war with our neighbour, whether that neighbour is human or non-human.

‘We are here tonight to declare that we do not wish to be at war. We wish to make peace with ourselves by making peace with our neighbour earth and with our God.’

Praying at the all-faith gathering, he added: ‘We confess that we have polluted our own atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change that have increased poverty in many parts of our planet. We have contributed to crises and been more concerned with getting gold than keeping our planet green. We have loved progress more than the planet. We are sorry.’

Extinction Rebellion, which describes itself as a non-violent direct action and civil disobedience group, said the protests at major central London locations including Parliament Square and Oxford Circus from Monday ‘will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks’.

Brian Sweeney, 42, said: ‘They’ve left rubbish everywhere – the mess they’ve made and they are meant to be looking after the environment. And also they are just picking on one corporation – that’s not the way to do it, this is a global issue.’

Thousands of people gathered at five central London locations in a bid to bring the capital to a standstill.

Some activists glued themselves to windows and smashed glass revolving doors at Shell’s HQ near Waterloo, while others climbed the building to spray graffiti and hang banners.  

Simon Bramwell 47, from Stroud in Gloucestershire, an ex-builder and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, said he glued himself to the building to ‘prevent crimes against humanity’.

Katerina Hasapopoulos, a mother-of-three from Stroud, also glued herself to the front of the building and declared: ‘Shell cares only for profit and I have three beautiful young girls who I want to see grow up to have a future.’

Campaign group Extinction Rebellion said it aimed to cause more than £6,000 of damage so they could be tried by a jury in Crown Court. Police said three men and two women were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. 

Elsewhere skateboarders replaced cars and lorries on Waterloo Bridge as the Thames crossing was closed to traffic and decorated with pot plants and trees.

One officer said it had been ‘very peaceful’ and the protesters had been ‘really pleasant’.

A bright pink boat became the focus for hundreds of activists stopping traffic at Oxford Circus, where some used makeshift devices to lock their arms together.

Roads were also closed and drivers diverted around Marble Arch and Piccadilly Circus. At Parliament Square, people unfurled banners, held up placards and waved flags as speakers took to the stage.

London’s protests were part of a wider campaign which will see people in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries hold similar demonstrations on environmental issues, campaigners said.

Organisers said: ‘The International Rebellion begins and Extinction Rebellion will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators dance at the campsite near Marble Arch in London this morning

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators dance at the campsite near Marble Arch in London this morning

Activists hold banners and wave flags as they continue to block Waterloo Bridge in the environmental protest today

Activists hold banners and wave flags as they continue to block Waterloo Bridge in the environmental protest today

Demonstrators chain and glue themselves to a lorry on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

Demonstrators chain and glue themselves to a lorry on Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest today

Climate change activists sit on the road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London this morning

Climate change activists sit on the road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch in London this morning

Activists are trying to block five central locations - including Waterloo Bridge, pictured today - as part of their protest

Activists are trying to block five central locations – including Waterloo Bridge, pictured today – as part of their protest

Activists sit with their tents in the road after sleeping at Oxford Circus on the second day of the environmental protest today

Activists sit with their tents in the road after sleeping at Oxford Circus on the second day of the environmental protest today

Police officers stand at a cordon at a closed road at Oxford Cirus on the second day of the environmental protest today

Police officers stand at a cordon at a closed road at Oxford Cirus on the second day of the environmental protest today

An activist brushes his teeth after waking up near Marble Arch in London during the environmental protest this morning

An activist brushes his teeth after waking up near Marble Arch in London during the environmental protest this morning

Activists sit with their tents in the road near Marble Arch on the second day of the environmental protest this morning

Activists sit with their tents in the road near Marble Arch on the second day of the environmental protest this morning

Activists stand next to their tents in Marble Arch as the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations continue this morning

Activists stand next to their tents in Marble Arch as the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations continue this morning

Activists block the road near Marble Arch today as Extinction Rebellion try to raise more awareness of climate change

Activists block the road near Marble Arch today as Extinction Rebellion try to raise more awareness of climate change

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch in London as the climate change protests continue today

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch in London as the climate change protests continue today

Police intervene to remove protesters from the Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Waterloo Bridge overnight

Police intervene to remove protesters from the Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Waterloo Bridge overnight

A woman smiles as police arrest her at the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest on Waterloo Bridge yesterday

A woman smiles as police arrest her at the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest on Waterloo Bridge yesterday

A demonstrator is carried away from the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest on Waterloo Bridge yesterday

A demonstrator is carried away from the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest on Waterloo Bridge yesterday

‘They will be blocking five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion where they invite people to join them for several days of creative, artist-led resistance.’ 

The movement has received support from actress and activist Dame Emma Thompson and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Speaking at a meditation on the eve of the protests, Dr Williams said humans had declared war on nature.

He said: ‘We are here tonight to declare that we do not wish to be at war. We wish to make peace with ourselves by making peace with our neighbour Earth and with our God.’

Scotland Yard said it had ‘appropriate policing plans’ for the demonstrations and officers would be used from across the force ‘to support the public order operation during the coming weeks’.

Police advised people travelling around London in the coming days to allow extra time for their journey in the event of road closures and general disruption

The faces behind the climate change chaos: From the ‘neo-pagan’ mother who became an activist after taking psychedelic drugs, to failed organic farmer and a baronet’s granddaughter

The activists behind the chaos caused by climate change protests this week come from all walks of life – including a failed organic farmer and a baronet’s daughter.

Co-founder Simon Bramwell is a former builder who was taken away in a police van yesterday after supergluing himself to the glass door of the Shell HQ in London.

His removal came as 113 people were arrested in the capital by police dealing with the ongoing protests at five landmarks including Waterloo Bridge and Marble Arch.

Also leading the ‘XR’ group is Gail Bradbrook, a ‘neo-pagan’ who became an activist as a direct result of taking huge doses of two powerful psychedelic drugs.

Others involved include Tasmin Osmond, who is the granddaughter of baronet Sir Thomas Lees, veteran campaigner Roger Hallam, and ex-UN worker Laura Reeves.

King’s post-graduate student George Barda and Stuart Basden, who says prison is like ‘boarding school’, are also involved in the demonstration of up to 10,000 people.

Here is more about those involved in the protest which is now in its second day: 

Simon Bramwell was taken away in a police van after supergluing himself to the glass door of the Shell HQ in London

One of the directors of private limited company Compassionate Revolution, which has organised and partly financed XR, is Wiltshire mother Gail Bradbrook

Simon Bramwell (left) was taken away in a police van after supergluing himself to the glass door of the Shell HQ in London yesterday. One of the directors of private limited company Compassionate Revolution, which has partly financed XR, is mother Gail Bradbrook (right)

Simon Bramwell, who was seen shouting as he was held by police yesterday, is a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion from Stroud, Gloucestershire, and a former builder.

The 46-year-old was part of a 12-strong group of middle class fanatics who admitted bringing the M4 and A4 to a standstill by lying down on a stretch of the motorway.

He was sentenced in 2016 over the protest against the expansion of Heathrow. He has been repeatedly arrested for climate change and anti-fracking protests.

The bush craft instructor says ‘hearing less birds in our beautiful countryside’ – where he goes off the grid for up to 19 days at a time – convinced him to help form ‘XR’. 

He wanted a ‘punchier’ eco-movement where people were willing to be arrested to be heard instead of just ‘playing it safe’ and failing to get their message across.

Mr Bramwell glued himself to the Shell HQ glass door as part of the protests yesterday

One of the directors of private limited company Compassionate Revolution, which has organised and partly financed XR, is Wiltshire mother Gail Bradbrook, 47.

The ‘neo-pagan’ said on a recent podcast that she decided to become an activist as a direct result of taking huge doses of two powerful psychedelic drugs.

Ms Bradbrook, who has two sons aged ten and 13, flew to Costa Rica a few years ago to take a dose of ibogaine, a hallucinogenic shrub growing in West Africa. 

The mother, who has a PhD in molecular biophysics, also tried ayahuasca, a highly toxic, mind-bending potion made by Amazon jungle shamans. 

She said the drugs ‘rewired’ her brain and gave her ‘the codes of social change’. Afterwards, she ended her marriage and began her activism in XR. 

Dr Bradbrook appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain where she told of fears for her children

Dr Bradbrook appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain where she told of fears for her children

Within XR, she holds mystic ‘moon circles’ with female colleagues inside a tepee, at which they ingest another ‘natural’ drug, mugwort, used by ancient Celts.

Ms Bradbrook has warned that warming in the Arctic is likely to cause ‘the collapse of the food system’ in just three years – a belief no scientist would endorse.

She has also said she ‘does not condemn’ protesters who ‘choose to damage property in order to protect nature’, although she personally prefers non-violence.

Speaking on ITV today, she looked close to tears as she spoke emotionally about the impact of climate change and fears her children would be left with nothing to eat.

She told of Sir David Attenborough’s fears over civilisation, but Good Morning Britain host Richard Madeley interrupted her to say he is ‘not a saint, just a broadcaster’.  

Tasmin Osmond, 35, is a veteran of ¿direct actions¿

The most prominent ¿ and radical ¿ of the XR leaders is failed organic farmer and PhD student Roger Hallam

Tasmin Osmond (left), 35, is a veteran of ‘direct actions’, while Roger Hallam (right), 52, is a veteran demonstrator who is researching a PhD in effective radical campaigning

Also involved is Tasmin Osmond, 35, a veteran of ‘direct actions’ such as Occupy London, the poverty protest which set up a camp outside St Paul’s cathedral in 2011.

Who are Extinction Rebellion and how are they funded? 

Extinction Rebellion grew out of the activist group ‘Rising Up!’ which unsuccessfully tried to stop the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Established in Britain in May 2018, the group has been organised and partly financed by a private limited company called Compassionate Revolution.

Its financial support comes from philanthropic foundations and crowdfunding – with an online campaign having raised £166,000 since launching in October.

XR now has more than 100 groups across Britain alone, with up to 10,000 supporters drawn to the protests in London this week.

It has groups in dozens of countries including South Africa, India and even the Solomon Islands – with the latest campaign involving people in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries.

Last November, the group held a protest which blocked bridges across London to bring chaos to the capital.

In February, they took part in a UK-wide school strike and on April 1, during one of the Brexit debates, a group of their protesters stripped off in the House of Commons.

The granddaughter of Dorset baronet Sir Thomas Lees, Omond went to Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read English.

Ms Osmond was thrown out of anti-aviation group Plane Stupid after saying the green movement ‘brand’ was ‘unwashed, unshaven and up a tree’.

Another of the founders of Extinction Rebellion is Roger Hallam, 52, a veteran demonstrator who is researching a PhD in effective radical campaigning. 

He became interested in climate change in his 40s when an organic farm he ran in Wales went bankrupt because of extreme weather conditions.

Mr Hallam went on hunger strike in 2017 to demand King’s College London stop investing in fossil fuels. 

His stated ambition for the group is to ‘bring down all the regimes in the world and replace them’, starting with Britain. 

In a recent video on YouTube, he said protesters should be ready to cause disruption through personal ‘sacrifice’. If necessary, they ‘should be willing to die’.

Mr Hallam said in the past: ‘You need about 400 to go to prison and you need two to three thousand people to get arrested.’ 

But yesterday, he insisted: ‘No-one wants to get arrested. I want to get back to my farm. I’m just a poor farmer, nothing special.’

He added: ‘We aren’t throwing stones or shouting. People are coming in to central London and sitting down. We are causing disruption and it’s justified.’ 

Mr Hallam has also claimed paralysing traffic will eventually cause food shortages and trigger uprisings. 

XR co-founder Stuart Basden, 36, a middle-class writer from Bristol

George Barda, 43, believes the 'Criminal UK Government' is to blame for climate change

XR co-founder Stuart Basden (left), 36, a middle-class writer from Bristol, while George Barda (right), 43, believes the ‘Criminal UK Government’ is to blame for climate change

Also involved in the group is 43-year-old George Barda, who believes the ‘Criminal UK Government’ is to blame for climate change.

He is a post-graduate student at King’s College in London and the son of classical music and stage photographer Clive Barda.

But Mr Barda is also a dedicated revolutionary who camped outside St Paul’s cathedral in the Occupy London campaign.

Today, he is a director of XR parent company Compassionate Revolution and regularly appears on Russia Today, Russia’s controversial British TV channel.

Meanwhile XR co-founder Stuart Basden, 36, a middle-class writer from Bristol, has goals that go far beyond a desire to curb global warming.

Mr Basden has claimed: ‘The climate’s breakdown is a symptom of a toxic system that has infected the ways we relate to each other as humans and to all life.’

He has urged XR followers to embrace jail, where he spent a week after defacing London’s City Hall with spray paint last year, saying it is ‘a bit like boarding school’.

Commuters cycle today past a pink boat placed in the road at Oxford Circus by activists

Commuters cycle today past a pink boat placed in the road at Oxford Circus by activists

Laura Reeves is also involved in the protest group after she was left feeling ‘deflated’ by ‘office activism’ having worked for NGOs including the United Nations.  

The actress and artistic director took to the stage at Marble Arch yesterday to address hundreds of activists. She describes herself as a ‘vision holder’ for XR. 

Miss Reeves, whose online show reel lists roles in commercials for River Island and Nikuma Jewellery, has previously lived in New York but is now based in London.

She flaunts photos of holidays in far flung destinations such as Peru and the Burning Man festival in Nevada on social media, despite the damage caused by air travel.

She said: ‘This just isn’t a priority for the government but this is literally a matter of life and death, there will be no future unless drastic steps are taken. 

‘Half of life, half the world’s species, has become extinct since the 1970s. The government needs to declare a climate emergency.’ 

Miss Reeves urged members of the crowd to put their heads together and discuss ways in which they could help make their message resonate.

‘We have got to come together or we will become extinct,’ she said ‘People are now starting to wake up. How can anything be more important than life on Earth?’ 

Who are Extinction Rebellion and what do the protesters want? 

Extinction Rebellion has emerged as the premier protest movement for climate change activists.

Since its first demonstration last year the group has injected fresh energy into the environmental cause, capturing headlines, recruits and high-profile supporters.

It has grown into an international movement backed by celebrities, academics and writers, calling for ‘radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse’.

– What does the group want?

Extinction Rebellion (XR) says direct action is needed to force governments to act urgently on climate change and wildlife declines and halt a ‘sixth mass extinction’.

It is calling for an ecological emergency to be declared, greenhouse gases to be brought to net zero by 2025, and the creation of a citizens’ assembly to lead action on the environment.

XR says the systems propping up ‘modern consumer-focused lifestyles’ will lead to mass water shortages, crop failures, sea level rises and the displacement of millions.

‘Only a peaceful planet-wide mobilisation of the scale of the Second World War will give us a chance to avoid the worst-case scenarios,’ it says.

– What are its methods?

XR uses what is calls ‘non-violent civil disobedience’ as the world has ‘run out of the luxury of time to react incrementally’.

Examples include blocking busy roads and bridges, spray-painting government buildings and activists chaining and gluing themselves to buildings including the gates of Buckingham Palace.

A colourful catwalk show took over London’s busy Oxford Circus junction earlier this month to highlight the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Before that, semi-naked activists glued themselves to windows in the public gallery of the House of Commons during a Brexit debate.

On Monday, protesters vandalised Shell’s headquarters, gluing themselves to windows and smashing glass revolving doors in a bid to cause more than £6,000 of damage – to enable them to have a jury trial in Crown Court.

A day later, around two dozen protesters occupied the International Criminal Court in the Hague, in the Netherlands, in a bid to have ecocide recognised as an international crime, the group said.

XR says it wants ecocide, the deliberate destruction of the natural environment, to be listed alongside crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and crimes of aggression.

– How did it build momentum?

In its first protest on October 31 last year, the group assembled a protest on Parliament Square in London, expecting a ‘couple of hundred people’ – before 1,500 showed up.

The group said: ‘The energy was contagious! The next few weeks were a whirlwind.

‘Six thousand of us converged on London to peacefully block five major bridges across the Thames.’

Chapters now exist in dozens of countries including the US, the Solomon Islands, Australia, Spain, South Africa and India, it said.

On April 15 protests in London began, with campaigners saying they will bring the capital to a standstill for up to two weeks.

Activists in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries will hold similar demonstrations on environmental issues, campaigners said.

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