Protesters have set their sights on blocking some of London’s busiest roads to attempt to bring the city to a halt. These activists have targeted five central locations in a bid to stop traffic by creating human roadblocks. One area affected has been London Bridge – which stopped traffic in both directions on Monday morning.
Protesters have since progressed to Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, using makeshift devices to lock their arms together.
This comes after last week, members of the activist group glued themselves naked to the glass partition of the House of Commons public gallery.
Why are people protesting in London today?
Activists are calling on the Government declare a climate emergency.
In Parliament Square, participants unfurled banners, held up placards and waved flags as speakers took to the stage.
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London protest: Protestors have taken to London’s streets to demand change
Campaign group Extinction Rebellion is expecting thousands to join the peaceful protests, which could last for weeks, as they demand the Government takes urgent action on climate change and wildlife declines.
Organisers have warned activists they could face arrest for blocking traffic and Transport for London said travellers face disruption and delays.
The movement has received support from actress and activist Dame Emma Thompson and former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.
Speaking at a meditation the night before the protests Dr Williams said humans had declared war on nature.
He said: “We are here tonight to declare that we do not wish to be at war.
“We wish to make peace with ourselves by making peace with our neighbour Earth and with our God.”
Ms Thompson has previously said of the demonstrations: “It is time to stand up and save our home.”
Organisers said: “The International Rebellion begins and Extinction Rebellion will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks.
“They will be blocking five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion where they invite people to join them for several days of creative, artist-led resistance.”
London protest: Protestors have dragged a pink boat along London’s roads
Demonstrators arrived at London’s Hyde Park on Sunday, some having travelled to the city on foot from various parts of the UK for what is described as an International Rebellion.
Campaigners said people in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries including Melbourne, Australia, Germany’s Hamburg and Paris will hold similar demonstrations on the same environmental issues.
While organisers encouraged people to set up camp in Hyde Park overnight into Monday, they were warned they could be breaking the law, as camping in the park is an offence under Royal Parks legislation.
A spokeswoman for The Royal Parks said Extinction Rebellion had not asked for permission to begin the protest in the park and that camping is not allowed.
London protest: Protestors blocked roads using a human chain this morning
However, police said no arrests had been made by midday on Monday after earlier explaining their operational response to camping “would be dependent on what if any other issues might be ongoing at the time”.
Is traffic affected?
Scotland Yard said they have “appropriate policing plans” in place for the demonstrations and that officers will be used from across the force “to support the public order operation during the coming weeks”.
Police advised people travelling around London in the coming days to allow extra time for their journey in the event of road closures and general disruption.
London protest: Commuters have expressed anger at protestors
Areas being targeted are Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, as well as near Parliament – so anyone travelling close by is advised to expect delays.
Transport For London has said of the Marble Arch area: “A group will occupy this area for an ongoing demonstration. Use alternative routes where possible
“Marble Arch and Cumberland Gate remain blocked.
“Traffic is queuing on approaches to the Marble Arch Area. Traffic is slow moving westbound on Bayswater Road, West Carriage Drive is slow moving. “