POLICE have ordered Extinction Rebellion activists to stop their protest immediately or face arrest – as they try to put an end to more than a week’s disruption in London.
Climate change protesters have been told to leave Trafalgar Square – where many have congregated lawfully since Monday last week – this morning.
Police said 1,445 people had been arrested during eight days of Extinction Rebellion protests in London.
Scotland Yard said protesters had to leave Trafalgar Square by 9pm today or face arrest.
In a statement on Twitter, the London branch of Extinction Rebellion wrote: “Police are clearing peaceful protest in Trafalgar & Vauxhall. They are back-tracking on promises made &, MEPs say, in contravention of UK law, in the national square.
“This is an emergency, and an outrage. The police must respect the law. This is a democracy.”
In a later statement they said they would “let the Trafalgar Square go tonight” but added that the “International Rebellion continues”.
PROTEST MUST END
Four people in a so-called peace tent, who had locked themselves together, were cut out of their locks with machinery last night.
Pam Williams, 71, said: “Everyone on the site, despite being the only area of London that was free of the Section 14, was told at about 8.30pm that they had to leave by 9pm or they would be arrested. I just feel like that’s very short notice.
“I feel possibly that they’ve been approached by people we’ve upset [on Monday], maybe the finance sector or the banking sector.
“I’m refusing to leave and I’ve glued myself to the ground. My husband has taken away the tent, the police haven’t got it. I shall stay here until I’m arrested.”
Patrick Thelwell, 20, who has been arrested four times, and convicted once with Extinction Rebellion, said the police were getting “desperate”.
He said: “They’re running out of police cells and resources to keep our message oppressed.
“We’re not here against the police, they’re just doing their job, they’re being really helpful…making sure people’s stuff doesn’t get lost.”
Ellie Chowns, a Green Party MEP, said she was arrested after “standing in solidarity” with protesters in Trafalgar Square.
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Yesterday hundreds of protesters attempted to close down the City of London, targeting banks and financial institutions, causing havoc for commuters at rush hour.
Activists glued themselves to the Walkie Talkie building, Barclays Bank, BlackRock and BAE systems claiming the banking sector’s “contribution to funding climate breakdown is driving us towards ecological collapse.”
Among those arrested yesterday was Jeffrey Newman, 77, a retired rabbi from Finchley in north London, who was praying in the middle of the road outside Bank Underground station.
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.