Extinction Rebellion protests resume for third day in central London after another 70 arrests

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Extinction Rebellion protesters have glued themselves to the ground in central London during a third day of disruption. The Metropolitan Police confirmed 72 people had been arrested on Wednesday, the majority for breaching conditions imposed on the Parliament Square demonstration. It comes after 160 arrests were made on Tuesday, for offences including breaching public order conditions, obstructing the highway, obstructing police and assault on an emergency worker.

During the third day of protesters, activists said they “jumped the barriers and ran past armed police to glue (themselves) on to the floor outside the House of Lords”. The tactic, a staple of previous XR protests, was accompanied by scores of others staging a sit-in elsewhere around the perimeter of the parliamentary estate, including at the Carriage Gates.


Extinction Rebellion: London demonstrations


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A separate protest, carried out by XR ally Animal Rebellion, saw activists glue themselves on top of and inside a pink slaughterhouse truck parked sideways across nearby Victoria Street. The campaigners said they are demanding “a plant-based food system as a means to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis and reduce the risk of future pandemics”. They have previously used fake blood in their demonstrations.

Elements of both protests are in contravention of conditions imposed by the Metropolitan Police. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said police have put a cordon around the vehicle and are working to safely remove protesters, who will subsequently be arrested. He said: “The message is really clear – we absolutely understand people have a right to protest, but you do not have a right to disrupt people’s lives and cause huge disruption to the communities in London.

“So if you want to protest, go to Parliament Square… if you’re committing offences elsewhere in London you are liable to arrest and we will be taking action against you.” Police said “dozens” of arrests had been made by midday. On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters gathered in and around Parliament Square as Boris Johnson headed into the House of Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions.

Police officers carry a protester away during demonstrations in Parliament Square (AP)

Activists carried banners, banged drums and chanted as many spilled outside the stipulated protest area and blockaded Great George Street.

Crowds cheered in solidarity with those arrested by police for refusing to heed warnings that they would be detained if they did not move. Others appeared to let their bodies go limp or simply looked away as police warned them to move within the protest area outside Parliament. In a separate stunt outside the Home Office nearby, two protesters hastily unloaded a large piece of tree trunk from a flatbed lorry and glued their hands together through a hollowed-out section in the middle.

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They were joined by scores of protesters moments later, some pouring a red liquid to symbolise blood, and blocking the entire road.

Further protests are planned around the country during the rest of this week and into next. Extinction Rebellion wants the Government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emission to net zero by 2025, and establish a “‘citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice”. Last year, more than 1,700 arrests were made during Extinction Rebellion’s 10-day “Autumn Uprising”, which saw major disruption across the UK.

This story is being updated.

More about: | Extinction Rebellion | Parliament Square | Boris Johnson | Metropolitan Police

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