Extinction Rebellion Protests: Climate Change Activists Block Key Roads In Major UK Cities

15 July 2019, 07:47 | Updated: 15 July 2019, 16:38

Activists from Extinction Rebellion have told LBC they will use boats to block key roads in major UK cities - and they will be there all week.

The environmental group is staging protests in London, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bristol, Norwich and other cities around the country.

Nearly 2,000 activists have said they will attend the action on Facebook groups. The event promises "civil disobedience, family friendly spaces, love and music and an object of significance to be core elements at every site."

These are the locations the protests are expected:
Bristol: Bristol Bridge
Cardiff: Cardiff National Museum
Glasgow: Gallowgate
Leeds: Leeds City Square
London: Royal Courts of Justice
Norwich: Norfolk County Council

The Polly Higgins boat on The Strand
The Polly Higgins boat on The Strand. Picture: LBC

Speaking to LBC, Extinction Rebellion spokesman Dr Rupert Reid revealed: "There are going to be boats all over the country today.

"Our hope is the boat on the Strand will be there for a week."

When asked why they were using boats, Dr Reid responded: "The symbolism there is very clear. This is about the sea level rise which is coming our way inevitably in the next generation or two and if we don't get our act together on climate, we'll take out most of our coastline and the centre of many cities of London."

Deputy Assistance Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: "Ahead of the protest by Extinction Rebellion, the Met have been working hard planning the police operation, led by an experienced command team.

"We have an appropriate numbers of officers, including specialist officers, deployed to work on the protest, and the plan ensures that we have the capability to respond quickly, make arrests and remove obstructions as necessary.

"The MPS absolutely recognise the right for people to protest, but it ought to be recognised that we must balance this with the rights of others to go about their daily lives. We also have to consider policing across London which significant protest requiring the deployment of large numbers of officers could impact.

"We have been engaged with the organisers to understand their plans but we cannot tolerate behaviour that crosses a criminal threshold, or causes significant disruption to communities across the capital."

Extinction Rebellion protesters block a road in south-east London
Extinction Rebellion protesters block a road in south-east London. Picture: PA

In Bristol, they are expected to block Bristol Bridge, a major road into the city's main shopping area.

Chief Inspector Mark Runacres from Avon and Somerset Police told LBC: " If we have a large-scale occupation of a bridge by hundreds of people, that's not something that we can deal with by arresting en masse.

"Arrests have to be lawful and a force of our size does not have the resources to arrest hundreds of people at one location."