Over 300 arrests made in first week of Extinction Rebellion protests

31 August 2021, 08:49 | Updated: 31 August 2021, 12:54

Police made several hundred arrests throughout the week.
Police made several hundred arrests throughout the week. Picture: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

More than 300 arrests were made during the first week of Extinction Rebellion's mass protests in London, police have said.

It is the fifth wave of the group's demonstrations, which have so far seen events such as the blocking of a road in central London with a large pink table, the floor outside the HM Revenue & Customs headquarters being spray painted and the famous Guildhall in the City of London being daubed in red paint.

A total of 367 arrests were made up to 5:30pm on 30 August, in the group's latest round of action - dubbed the Impossible Rebellion - the Metropolitan Police confirmed.

It came after 11 more activists were arrested on bank holiday Monday for blocking Tower Bridge with a van and caravan.

Read more: 11 arrests as Extinction Rebellion protesters block London's Tower Bridge

Read more: Extinction Rebellion stick coins outside the London Stock Exchange in 'bank tour' of capital

Protesters wearing aprons emblazoned with Tell The Truth and with teapots with Deniabilitea written on them were seen to be removed by officers prior to the blocking of the bridge.

However, the Metropolitan Police said demonstrators had used "complex" lock-ons "to frustrate our removal efforts", and specialist removal teams had to be drafted in.

"We see many comments and questions asking why this work can't be quicker and use more direct tactics," the force said on Twitter.

Extinction Rebellion protesters set up giant pink table

"While we understand the public's frustration, we must consider the safety of everyone involved - including our officers.

"This work is painstaking but we work as quick as we can."

Some 34 protesters had also been arrested the previous day for occupying the Science Museum and gluing themselves to the building in protest against its partnership with oil giant Shell.

Read more: XR protesters glue themselves to railings inside Science Museum and 'refuse to leave'

It comes as the group is demanding the government stops investment in fossil fuels.

However, Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, have also been taking action, including dyeing the Buckingham Palace fountains red in protest of animal hunting.

The Animal Rebellion's latest move has been the blockading of one of the largest dairy factories in the UK.

Meanwhile, Extinction Rebellion is due to continue its action for a second week.