Climate change activists have disrupted rail services in the east of London, sparking a physical confrontation between angry morning commuters and a protester who had climbed onto the roof of a London Underground train, video on social media showed.
British Transport Police say they responded to incidents at Shadwell, Stratford and Canning Town, near to London’s Canary Wharf financial district early on Thursday.
Footage showed protesters unfurling an Extinction Rebellion protest group banner on top of a stationary London Underground train at Canning Town before one was pelted with food and physically dragged off by commuters.
“Arrests have already been made and officers are working to quickly resume services,” the police said in a statement.
— Mahatir Pasha (@mahatir_pasha) October 17, 2019
Extinction Rebellion launched a wave of civil disobedience on October 7 to highlight the risks posed by climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species.
Police in London said on Wednesday they had arrested 1642 people since the protests started.
The Evening Standard reported that the action had been flagged in advance by Extinction Rebellion, telling London Underground staff participants will peacefully break the law to stop the Tube and then will wait to be arrested.
But the actions of angry commuters show the message was falling on deaf ears.
“On 17 October, several XR affinity groups (autonomous civil disobedience groups) are planning to non-violently disrupt Tube services to highlight the climate and ecological emergency,” the statement read.
“We sincerely apologise to all those who may be affected as a consequence of this disruption.
"We do not want to be doing this. We apologise for the disruption." Tube actions intended to bring economic disruption to the capital as part of the ongoing campaign to convince the govt. to take meaningful action on the Climate & Ecological Emergencyhttps://t.co/ew35eMJHUN
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🕊️ (@XRebellionUK) October 17, 2019
“In any other circumstances these groups would never dream of disrupting the Tube, but this is an emergency.
“The disruption is necessary to highlight that people are already dying as a result of climate change and to protect lives in the long term. Not just ours, but our children’s and grandchildren’s.
“Many ways have been tried to raise awareness of the climate and ecological disaster we are now experiencing, and they’ve all failed to generate the necessary amount of action. Recently, XR have even banned from peaceful protest in the streets of London.
“This is now an emergency. The individuals who have committed to this action wish to sound the alarm as loud as they can. This is disruption with a purpose.”