A frail 92-year-old Extinction Rebellion protester was among 90 activists arrested in central London today after a 3,000-strong eco-mob flooded the capital.
John Lynes, the elderly demonstrator who used a walking stick, was surrounded by officers who escorted him to a waiting police van amid chaotic scenes in the capital.
Earlier a wheelchair user ended up collapsed on the road and officers helped her back into her chair before wheeling her away from the road outside Westminster Abbey.
The Metropolitan Police said 90 people had been arrested as of 6pm for offences including assaulting an emergency worker, obstructing police and public order breaches.
At least 10 people were carried away by officers after the group refused to move from the roads around Parliament Square.
Protesters chanted and cheered as the officers took them away to nearby police vans.
Demonstrators enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere during the protest today, waving flags and banners including ‘Make Earth Great Again’ on their march down the Mall and into Parliament Square – with limited social distancing despite current Covid restrictions.
Similar rallies took place in Cardiff and Manchester, and come after XR protests planned for earlier in the year were cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus.
John Lynes, the elderly demonstrator who used a walking stick, was surrounded by officers who escorted him to a waiting police van amid chaotic scenes in the capital
Police were seen speaking with a woman on a wheelchair near Parliament Square before they moved her away along with another protester
A group of officers wearing masks and gloves were seen moving the woman from the road outside Parliament
At one point the woman was lying on the road as officers continued speaking to her. It is not clear what led up to her being on the road
The woman was eventually moved away by officers during the protests outside Parliament this afternoon
Another protester is carried away by police after blocking traffic. Extinction Rebellion regularly uses the tactic to increase disruption
MPs returned to Westminster today after a summer recess, and protesters (pictured) are lobbying them to support a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill’ and a citizens’ assembly to discuss new approaches to tackling climate change
A climate protester lies down in the street directly behind police officers who try to move others on
Police officers arrest an Extinction Rebellion protester taking part in the demonstration in Parliament Square on Tuesday
Officers are seen lifting an Extinction Rebellion protester as they arrest him during a demonstration on September 1
Mask-wearing Extinction Rebellion protesters gather in Parliament Square on September 1 in a protest timed for the return of government officials from the summer holiday
A man wearing an Extinction Rebellion – also known as XR – badge is carried away by police officers during a protest in London
A demonstrator lies on the floor next to a flag reading ‘Extinction Rebellion Southwark’ and ‘disobey’ during the London protest today
Police officers detain a mask-wearing protester during a ‘peaceful disruption’ of British Parliament in London today
Demonstrators gather – some standing and some seated – in Parliament Square on September 1 as part of an Extinction Rebellion protest
A huge crowd of police officers were seen moving into Parliament Square during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration on Tuesday
Police officers are seen carrying away an Extinction Rebellion protester who took part in a demonstration in Parliament Square in London
One group of police officers were seen carrying a demonstrator during an arrest in Parlaiment Square. An onlooker filmed
Extinction Rebellion protesters lie down across a street during a demonstration in Parliament Square on Tuesday
Police prepare to pick up and remove a demonstrator lying down in the road during the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest
Five police officers are seen carrying a demonstrator away during a protest in Parliament Square in London today
Extinction Rebellion protesters lie down across a street during a demonstration in Parliament Square. Police officers form a line along the pavement
Police officers were photographed putting handcuffs on an Extinction Rebellion protester as they arrested him in Parliament Square
The Metropolitan Police said 90 people had been arrested as of 6pm for offences including assaulting an emergency worker, obstructing police and public order breaches
One woman is carried away by four police officers during the ‘peaceful disruption’ of British Parliament as lawmakers return from the summer recess
A demonstrator clutches a sign reading ‘back the bill Boris’. It urges the Prime Minister to ‘divest from fossil fuels’ and ‘invest in green energy’
Police officers were seen standing in front of a sign reading ‘this is change’. The Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrated in Parliament Square
A group of hippies out protesting as part of the Extinction Rebellion rally in London this afternoon
Women taking part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in central London on Tuesday
A woman in a multi-coloured hat and wearing a pink face mask is carried away by police after blocking a road by Parliament today
A police officer speaking to a climate protester in central London on Tuesday
Four police had to carry this protester away from where he was blocking a road outside Parliament during today’s protests
Protesters marched in large numbers down the Mall and into Parliament Square – with limited social distancing despite current Covid restrictions
Extinction Rebellion protesters sitting outside The Houses of Parliament during this afternoon’s protests in central London
Protesters today waved flags and banners as they marched in large numbers down the Mall – with limited social distancing despite current Covid restrictions, although many wore masks
One of the group’s activists being carried away by mask-wearing police during the protests in central London today
This woman smiled as she was carried away by Met Police officers after she was blocking a road by Parliament Square
Another woman is moved away by officers during the first major protests on what XR says will be a two-week campaign
Police speak to a woman pretesting near Parliament. She is wearing an Extinction Rebellion logo on her t-shirt
A protester is carried away by mask-wearing police officers in London this afternoon
There were limited XR protests yesterday, including outside banks in Essex over the financial industry’s investment in fossil fuels, but few activists turned out.
MPs returned to Westminster today after a summer recess, and protesters are lobbying them to support a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill’ and a citizens’ assembly to discuss new approaches to tackling climate change.
‘The government is failing to do what’s necessary to keep people safe. We are here, taking action, because their criminal negligence is putting lives at risk,’ the group said on its website.
‘We refuse to be bystanders and wait for this emergency to push beyond the point of no return.’
Four marches converged in Westminster after the Met had said the gatherings could only take place off the main roads at Parliament Square between 8am and 7pm.
The force said on Tuesday night that the same conditions would be imposed on further demonstrations planned for Wednesday.
One protester, Karen Wildin, 56 – a tutor from Leicester – said: ‘I’m here today because I have serious concerns about the future of the planet – we need to put this above anything else.
‘Never mind Covid, never mind A-levels, this is the biggest crisis facing us and we need to raise the message as loudly as possible.
‘Not a lot has been done on this issue, everyone needs to hear the message.’
Sarah Lunnon, a prominent member of Extinction Rebellion, said: ‘The failure to act on this issue will have a catastrophic impact on the future of us and the generations to come.
‘We want to occupy Parliament Square to make our voices heard. Of course we’re in the middle of a pandemic but we’re balancing the risk, this is the biggest issue facing us.’
Responding images of the wheelchair user being escorted away, a Met Police spokesperson said: ‘On Tuesday, 1 September, officers noticed a female protester was sat next to her wheelchair at a protest in Parliament Square.
‘Officers spoke to her, checked on her welfare and offered assistance back into her chair, but she refused to move.
‘She was told she was breaching the conditions imposed on the protests and that if she did not allow officers to assist her back into her chair, enabling her to leave the area, she would be arrested for breaching the conditions.
‘She refused to leave the area and was arrested for breach of conditions. She was taken to a south London police station where officers continue to provide appropriate support.’
Last week organisers said that other ‘institutions of power’ would be targeted in the coming days, adding that they would encourage protesters to respect social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Activists marched around Parliament Square waving flags with the Extinction Rebellion logo and banging on drums
The group are hoping to use the two weeks of protest to refocus the political agenda on global warming
Protesters held banners including ‘Make Earth Great Again’ while another read ‘the only thing we should be burning is safe’ in an apparent reference to the government’s Covid advisory group
Demonstrations also took place at St Peter’s Square in Manchester, where banners bore slogans including ‘planet over profit’
MPs returned to Westminster today after a summer recess, and protesters are lobbying them to support a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill’ and a citizens’ assembly to discuss new approaches to tackling climate change. Pictured are protesters in London
Last week organisers said that other ‘institutions of power’ would be targeted in the coming days, adding that they would encourage protesters to respect social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
Many of the banners in London included references to Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who today defended his climate record
An XR protester kneeling on the street as police officers stand close by in the capital on Tuesday
Police have placed restrictions on where protestors could gather and said they must follow the rules or be liable to arrest.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that climate activists should be ‘jumping for joy’ at the government’s climate record, and today said new policy announcements would be made in the autumn.
‘From this crisis we will build back better in this country, we will build back faster and we will build back greener,’ Johnson told senior ministers ahead of a cabinet meeting.
‘And there will be a lot to more to come about the way in which this government is going to lead a new green industrial revolution for the UK.’
Police have placed restrictions on where protestors could gather and said they must follow the rules or be liable to arrest. Pictured are protesters in Manchester
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that climate activists – seen here in London – should be ‘jumping for joy’ at the government’s climate record, and today said new policy announcements would be made in the autumn
A woman in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, carrying a sign criticising banks for continuing to fund the fossil fuel industry