On Monday, Extinction Rebellion (XR) protestors blocked a busy junction in Covent Garden, London during their first day of protests. Participants chained themselves together to block a roundabout at Long Acre.
A van joined at the junction with a 4-meter-high pink table featuring the slogan “Come to the table.” As XR plans a fortnight of protests in London, this slogan represents their call to bring everyone to the table to discuss the climate crisis.
In a statement, XR explained, “As floods, fire, and famine break out around the world, it is clear that climate breakdown is here now, and there is no choice left now but to take urgent action. Everyone deserves a seat at the table to have a say in how to tackle the greatest crisis of our times.”
Protesters remained at the junction until 7 p.m. when the police began arresting participants. The police showed up with an order signed by Superintendent Wayne Matthews, who claimed the gathering “may result in serious disruption to the community.” The order was also shared via social media.
In response, XR members targeted for arrest laid on the ground, forcing police officers to carry them away. Police claim to have arrested 52 protestors.
One of the protestors told reporters that XR’s actions have already succeeded in raising awareness. “By taking these arguably drastic actions, I hope that it makes some of the passersby, or the people who read about it, think about why we are worried enough to do that and it conveys there really is something to worry about,” said activist Tristan Strange.
According to the Metropolitan police, law enforcement will continue with a “policing plan” for continued XR protests. Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist has added that “his officers would not be deterred by a recent supreme court ruling” supporting highway obstruction as “a legitimate and lawful form of protest,” as reported by The Guardian.
Via The Guardian
Lead image via Extinction Rebellion U.K.