BORIS Johnson slammed the “uncooperative crusties and protesters” after they caused travel misery for thousands of commuters in London.
Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters pitched tents and set up came just yards from the Prime Minister’s front door at No10.
Mr Johnson tore into the eco-warriors, branding them “importunate nose ringed climate change protesters”.
And he lashed the “heaving hemp-smelling bivouacs that now litter Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park” for making the journey into work so horrible for many.
Speaking at the launch of a book on Margaret Thatcher , Mr Johnson admitted his security staff had warned him off braving the protesters causing havoc outside.
He said: “I am afraid that the security people didn’t want me to come along tonight because they said the road was full of uncooperative crusties and protesters.
“And they said there was some risk that I would be egged.
“And so I immediately asked my private office – what would Margaret Thatcher do?”
Thousands of climate change protesters blocked London’s roads and bridges as they kicked off their two-week long demonstration in the capital.
Mr Johnson said the activists should take a lead out of the Iron Lady’s book.
He added: “I hope that when we go out from this place tonight, and we are waylayed by importunate nose ringed climate change protestors, we remind them that she was also right about greenhouse gases.
“And she took it seriously long before Greta Thunberg.”
Earlier today, celebrities Daisy Lowe, Ruby Wax and Mark Rylance have joined the eco-warriors today in
Extinction Rebellion protesters stood side by side with the celebrities for the second time this year as they vow to bring a fortnight of disruptions to the capital.
Sir Mark told Extinction Rebellion protesters at St James’ Park: “People have been saying to me, it doesn’t make a difference having a celebrity joining the protests.
“But I want people to know climate change protesters aren’t hippies. I am confident these protests are going to lead to a solid change.”
Stevenson said she was delighted to see so much engagement from young people and that her own son was at the protests and working for Extinction Rebellion.
The Truly Madly Deeply star said: “It’s a very wonderful action today. We can’t any longer allow governments to do this so we have to make it clear that there is no more time.
“There’s a long tradition in this country of people saying governments are not acting, we have to make them realise how urgent this is.”
Police have finally got tough on Extinction Rebellion eco-warriors as they arrested 276 protesters by 6.15pm this evening- rather than dancing and skateboarding with them.
Officers came under fire in April when they were filmed larking around with activists on Waterloo Bridge who had caused travel misery to ordinary Londoners.
But cops today took a tough stance as activists began their two week-campaign to block streets and bridges in the capital.
Just after 9am today Lambeth Bridge was closed down by protesters and they also shut off Westminster bridge.
Activists also created roadblocks on Victoria Street, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and the Mall, and banged drums and danced outside Downing Street.
The Trafalgar takeover started with a funeral hearse with “our future” painted on a coffin inside blocking Whitehall.
Inside the driver chained his head to the car using a bike lock as two others locked themselves under the wheels.
Early this morning specialist officers cut some of the protesters out of a car parked outside the Ministry of Defence and were seen marching away activists.
Angry Londoners today blasted the activists for targeting the capital again, despite the UK cutting carbon emissions faster than any other G7 nation.
The travel chaos forced pensioner Tony, 65, from Vauxhall, to take two buses and two Tubes to get to St Thomas’s hospital after his normal route was blocked by the eco-warriors.
The OAP has two broken bones in his foot and had to struggle across Westminster Bridge on his crutches to reach the hospital.
Tony, who didn’t want to give his surname, told the Sun Online: “It’s disgraceful. It’s a pity they got rid of Boris Johnson’s water cannons”.
Michael Coleman, from South London, said: “Extinction Rebellion are causing needless aggravation in London today. Crazy…they’ve got nothing better to do than frustrate people and cause needless chaos”.
Around 30,000 activists are expected to try and grind the city over the next fortnight in a move that will stop people getting to work, making hospital appointments and hit businesses.
Earlier today Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is the police chief in charge of the Extinction Rebellion protests, had said officers will deal with activists breaking the law “robustly”.
One of the 276 arrested included 81-year-old Quaker Sarah Lasenby, a retired social worker from Oxford.
She said: “I was so relieved to have something I could do about the ghastly state we have got our planet in”.
One tearful activist called Rowan compared the protesters to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, telling LBC radio: “I’m feeling quite moved at the moment because I’ve just been watching people being taken away.
“It’s very moving seeing people giving their freedom and giving so much of their lives. Some of these people have been doing this for years, trying to raise the warning about climate change.
“I really feel that this is their last chance to try to turn things around. If we don’t turn it around this time, that’s it. That’s it for the people in the future.
“I feel the legacy we’ve inherited from the people who have done non-violence civil disobedience in the past – people like Martin Luther King and Gandhi.
“They all fought for freedom and human rights and for the right for life on earth. They’ve handed the torch on to us.”
A 25-year-old teacher from London who took the week off to join the protests said: “The plan is to shut down the whole of London.
“The issue of climate change is an issue for everyone, and it’s clear we can’t leave it to the politicians.
“I booked the week off work for this. The school kids are out protesting too. Everyone is.”
It’s forecast to pour with rain this afternoon in the capital.
However commuters vented their fury at the protesters for the disruption caused.
Tom Stone said: “Police resources will have to deal with this and not all responding officers will be available to deal with real crimes or emergencies. I think they really need to rethink their strategy, it’s appalling”.
Another tweeted: “Causing disruption in London and major cities worldwide is clearly not the correct approach to adopt in order to get one’s message across. If anything, it’s just a real nuisance, at the expense of the taxpayer”.
Over the next fortnight protesters will also target London City Airport, which they will attempt to hold for three days.
Those behind the protest admitted their action could have an impact on St Thomas’s hospital, which sits on the opposite bank of the Thames from the Houses of Parliament.
When asked whether they were worried about disruption at the hospital, activist Savannah Lovelock said that they were “really sorry…but we are running out of time”.
But protesters did stand aside to allow ambulances responding to emergencies to pass.
In July one man missed his father’s dying moments because Extinction Rebellion had blocked roads in the city.
The monarch could also be affected as the Queen’s Speech takes place on October 14 and is on a route which could have its access blocked.
A government spokesman said: “People have the right to protest peacefully but they must do so within the law.
“It is essential that people can continue to go about their business, going to and from work, visiting families, and have access to vital public services, including emergency services and schools.
“Rights to peaceful protest does not extend to unlawful activity.
“The government expects police to take a firm stance against protesters who significantly disrupt the lives of others and will use the full force of the law.”
More than a thousand people attended an “opening ceremony” at Marble Arch last night, featuring meditation and dancing as “inspiration” prior to the protests.
Groups of artists held a procession around Marble Arch as the protesters were told to “surround” the upcoming demonstrations with love.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Zoe Jones, 24, said: “We’re here to pressure the Government into action because we can’t wait any longer.
“The next two weeks will involve marches and family friendly events, there’ll be some spicier actions as well and some will be arrestable.
“We’ve had 4,000 rebels sign up and say they are willing to be arrested – which is a huge increase on the number arrested in April of 1,000.
“The public perception of XR is that we’re disrupting ordinary people’s lives by blocking roads and that’s why this time we’re taking our protests to the seat of power and taking it to Westminster.
“We are on the public’s side and we are ordinary people who are extremely concerned.”
Grace Maddrell, 14, told PA: “I’m here today because I am angry that no one is doing anything to save my future.”
Major events are also taking place around the world in Australia, in Europe – in Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam – and in the US in New York and Washington DC.
Extinction Rebellion is calling on the Government declare a climate and ecological emergency, act immediately to halt wildlife loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Earlier in the year, Parliament declared a climate and environment emergency and the Government has passed a law to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, far later than the activists are demanding.
The group staged 11 days of protests in London in April that disrupted public transport and roads.
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On Thursday Extinction Rebellion activists used a fire engine to hose red liquid at the Treasury to draw attention to what they said was the government’s failure to avert climate disaster.
Last week the Met warned that the protests were taking officers away from other vital roles in the capital including tackling knife crime and domestic violence.
More resources have been used policing climate change protest than focusing on terror, it was said.