Hundreds of XR protesters block Oxford Circus as some 'glue themselves to structure'

25 August 2021, 15:18 | Updated: 25 August 2021, 18:45

By Sophie Barnett

Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters have gathered in Oxford Circus on the third day of the group's two-week climate demonstrations, with some people glued to a structure.

On Wednesday afternoon the group of protesters moved to Oxford Circus - one of London's most popular tourist areas - erecting a pink box which members climbed on top of.

Police could be seen circling the pink box amongst the sea of people, with pictures showing around 300 protesters.

The Metropolitan Police said a number of roads are blocked by the undergoing protest, and they are working to reduce the disruption caused.

Footage on social media showed officers appearing to intervene with protesters who were blocking the junction at Oxford Circus.

Police cleared Oxford Circus of protesters, with a cordon put in place in all directions.
Police cleared Oxford Circus of protesters, with a cordon put in place in all directions. Picture: Alamy

Shortly after 3.45pm, police said: "The protest and assembly at Oxford Circus must cease immediately."

The order was issued under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, following concerns the demonstration may result in "serious disruption to the life of the community".

Officers said there are around 76 protesters locked on in the middle of the junction, who in spite of direction to move, have "refused to do so".

Read more: Nine arrested after Extinction Rebellion protesters target Guildhall entrance

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Hundreds of XR protesters gather at Oxford Circus in central London.
Hundreds of XR protesters gather at Oxford Circus in central London. Picture: Sophie Cowen/Extinction Rebellion UK

Officers confirmed on Tuesday that more than 100 arrests have been made since the demonstrations began for a "variety of offences".

Ten people were arrested on Sunday, 68 on Monday and 40 as of 5.30pm on Tuesday evening.

Officers were also seen carrying 10 people through the streets on Tuesday after they were found laying in the road in the centre of the city.

Two women who were joined together with their arms inside what appeared to be a plastic pipe were also seen being separated by police.

Read more: Extinction Rebellion: 52 arrests on day one of fortnight of protests

It follows members of the Extinction Rebellion blocking junctions near Leicester Square and Covent Garden, blockading busy routes with vans and setting up a giant pink table as part of their climate protest.

On Monday, Cockspur Road near Trafalgar Square was blocked with hundreds of protesters in the road next to Nelson's Column.

The planned protests across central London have been attended by thousands since Sunday, with people parading through the streets and delivering speeches as they campaign for urgent action on climate change.

XR protesters in London's Oxford Circus.
XR protesters in London's Oxford Circus. Picture: LBC

The group of activists are demanding the government stop investment in fossil fuels, following a "sobering" report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which said the world will reach or exceed temperature rises of 1.5C over the next two decades.

Read more: Climate crisis: Human-caused damage could be irreversible for centuries - UN report

Read more: 'Code red for humanity': Landmark UN climate report 'sobering', PM says

A protester with Extinction Rebellion climbing on top of a pink box in Oxford Circus.
A protester with Extinction Rebellion climbing on top of a pink box in Oxford Circus. Picture: Sophie Cowen/Extinction Rebellion UK

Liam Geary Baulch, who helped launch Extinction Rebellion in 2018, said the group saw a jump in donations from people after the IPCC's report was published on August 9.

Mr Baulch said: "Last week £100,000 was raised in crowdfunding in just 24 hours ahead of the two weeks of protests in London.

"With the IPCC report just coming out, a lot of people have been reignited with the urgency of taking action on the climate and ecological emergency and are aware that, now it's more safe for everyone to come to London [due to coronavirus restrictions being eased]."

He added: "We are again running groups all over the country and people are being encouraged to come down to London... When they're here they are all involved with different kinds of protests, all with the aim of like really inviting people to get in and come and talk with us."

Read more: Sadiq Khan: London flash floods shows climate change danger is 'closer to home'