EXTINCTION Rebellion climate change activists started their second week of protests by blocking roads outside the Bank of England today.
The protesters have vowed to “swarm” the City of London and cause “maximum disruption” to financial institutions after targeting government buildings last week.
The Met Police have arrested 1,309 people in connection with the protests as Police Chief Cressida Dick said the force has been “stretched” by the protests, impeding its ability to respond to other crimes.
The group is aiming to block multiple routes into the Square Mile to mark the second week of its “climate emergency” action.
They said it would try and close roads and stop public transport this morning because of the banking sector’s “contribution to funding climate breakdown is driving us toward ecological collapse”.
Twenty double-decker buses have been left queuing down Lombard Street and King William Street as protesters show no sign of moving.
The driver of the first bus in the queue has been stuck there since 7am.
Traffic from five roads surrounding Bank Underground station was blocked by chanting protesters huddling under a large green tarpaulin.
Climate change protesters held banners and placards bearing messages targeting financial institutions, such as “divest from climate change” and “invest in soil not oil” while in the pouring rain.
Iris Skipworth, who was handing out Extinction Rebellion leaflets that said “sorry” and explained why they were protesting at Bank to commuters this morning, said she had received “death threats” from passers-by.
She has been camping at Vauxhall with “some 400 others” for four days now.
Iris, 20, said: “A lot of commuters are very annoyed, because they are trying to get to work quickly. I can understand, but it’s shortsighted.
“I have had people saying things like ‘Get a job, you w****r’, ‘Get out of the road’, and ‘Why don’t you go extinct?’.”
Iris, who has taken time off from her job as a garden centre assistant in Manchester, added: “I’m here because the 33 banks around the City of London gave £66 billion to the fossil fuel industry this year, and £0.9 trillion since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.
“The Government has declared a climate emergency, yet they’re not even scaling this back slightly … we’re here to hit the Government in the wallet, hopefully.”
Dave Evans, 32, said he had taken two weeks unpaid leave from is IT consultaning job in the capital to join the protests.
He said the finance sector needed to “stop funding the climate crisis”.
He added: “These huge corporations are financing fossil fuels and [are] being subsidised by the Government.”
‘POWER TO THE PEOPLE’
Police have been warning protesters they will be arrested under a Section 40 order for obstructing traffic.
Some activists have been led away from by officers as crowds cheered them on.
Hundreds of the eco-warriors remain at the crossroads waving flags and chanting “Extinction Rebellion” and “power to the people”.
An ambulance was also halted by the protesters for about 20 seconds but they cleared for it to pass through.
A total of 500 cops from other forces from England and Wales have been brought in to help cope with the protests.
The man, who Extinction Rebellion identified as former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, held onto the aircraft in a video streamed online by the protest group.
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Protesters were camped on roads around Parliament Square and Whitehall since Monday calling for urgent action on climate change and wildlife.
In April, Extinction Rebellion protesters brought the capital to a grinding halt.
The demonstrators blockaded the London Stock Exchange by gluing themselves across the entrances, while others stuck themselves together outside the Goldman Sachs HQ on Fleet Street.
WHO ARE EXTINCTION REBELLION?
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.
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.
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