EXTINCTION Rebellion activists today begin a fortnight of disruption in London with plans to “shut down” Westminster.
Around 30,000 people are expected to block streets and bridges in London over two weeks of protests.
Activists will take to the streets at 10am today to blockade key locations including Westminster and Lambeth Bridges, Parliament Square, Downing Street and Whitehall.
Extinction Rebellion Bristol tweeted: “The time is now. Our rebels are up and ready. This morning we take Westminster”.
London City Airport will also be targeted, which they will attempt to hold for three days.
The group plans to bring London to a standstill and are willing to shut down the heart of the capital until their demands for action on climate change are met.
Those behind the protest have now 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”.
They have said that they will 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.
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 planned 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 Trasury 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.