A FURIOUS OAP with a broken foot has slammed Extinction Rebellion protesters today after he was forced to take a major detour to get to hospital.
Climate activists shut down roads around Parliament and Whitehall as they began their fortnight of action in the capital.
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 did not want to give his surname, told the Sun Online: “I’m not OK. And then to be pushed by ignorant people like that.
“It should have been one bus journey door to door [that took me] right outside the hospital.
“I’ve had to get two buses, two Tubes and come across the bridge to see an Orthopaedic surgeon. It’s disgraceful. It’s a pity they got rid of Boris Johnson’s water cannons.”
At that moment a man, who had come to London for the protest, asked him: “Why should they be arrested and water cannoned? It’s a free country”.
Responding, Tony said: “Don’t you think I ought to be able to get to a hospital?”
The protester shot back saying: “I know it’s annoying but climate change is even more important.”
Hobbling across Westminster Bridge on his crutches, Tony said: “Go and protest somewhere else…stop disrupting people’s lives.”
The protester said: “I’ve given up a day’s work…I’ve come 30 miles into London…”
Turning to him, Tony said: “I’ve given up a day’s work to go to the hospital. It should be one bus journey”.
As the pensioner crossed the road, the activist said: “It’s very inconvenient I agree…but something’s got to be done about it”.
By lunchtime today police had arrested 135 protesters as they took a tougher approach.
Officers came under fire in April when they were filmed larking around with activists on Waterloo Bridge who had caused travel hell to ordinary Londoners.
Earlier today Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who is the police chief in charge of the Extinction Rebellion protests, said officers would deal with activists breaking the law “robustly”.
One of the 135 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, saying: “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.”
However angry Londoners today blasted the activists for targeting the capital again, despite the UK cutting carbon emissions faster than any other G7 nation.
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”.
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”.
Around 30,000 activists are expected to try and grind the city over the next fortnight.
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.
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.