The BBC reported that more than 100 people have been arrested in London after activists took to the street during the second day of protests. Official figures from the Metropolitan police say that 113 people were arrested during the early hours of Tuesday morning BST. Five were held on suspicion of criminal damage, while the majority were detained for public order offenses.
The capital city was brought to a standstill after marchers began blocking roads on Monday, demanding the U.K. government take urgent action to combat climate change.
The group, known as Extinction Rebellion, was camped out overnight at Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus, and Parliament Square despite police ordering them to restrict their protest to Marble Arch. The aim of the protest, according to the campaigners, is to “shut down London” until April 29. They are insisting that carbon emissions be reduced to zero by 2025.
They also demand the government “tell the truth” about climate change as well as create a citizens’ assembly to overlook the program.
Extinction Rebellion posted a tweet saying that they are “not leaving” until the police “arrest every last one of us.”
#WaterlooBridge: over 100 arrests, 7 locked on and 5 of us up on the truck, but we are still holding the bridge. We are not leaving until this toxic system changes or until they arrest every last one of us. Reinforcements appreciated! #internationalrebellion pic.twitter.com/Yvd5RJyz1y
— Extinction Rebellion ????⌛️???? (@ExtinctionR) April 16, 2019
Despite the arrests, further disruptions are expected as protesters call for further support. Some of the campaigners have glued themselves to an articulated lorry and as of 8:30 a.m. BST – 3:30 a.m. ET – around 600 people remained on the bridge, according to sources.
The group’s leader, Roger Hallam, said that “they can’t stop us” and that protests like this haven’t been seen in the U.K. in decades. He believes civil disobedience is the way to see changes in society.
“What’s amazing about this is for 30 years you have just had that closing up of public space: ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you’ve got to finish then.’ Suddenly, what Extinction Rebellion has done is actually say: ‘We are doing this.’ And the state is so weak through austerity that they can’t stop us.”
The group also wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May asking for talks, warning that they would elevate their “disruptive actions” to pressure the government into acting. They said in their letter that the “crisis” was only going to get worse and that the Prime Minister could no longer “ignore” the situation.
Extinction Rebellion has launched protests in the past in which they’ve shut down bridges, poured blood outside Downing Street, and stripped down semi-naked in front of Parliament.
The Guardian said additional protests are being organized by the group, with 80 more across 33 countries planned.