News World London police arrest 600 climate change protesters

London police arrest 600 climate change protesters

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Police in London say 600 people have been arrested during five days of climate change protests across the city.

Environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR) reignited its efforts to highlight the dangers of climate change this month after they were largely placed on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a series of daily actions, protesters have marched on Parliament Square, blocked roads, staged sit-ins and glued themselves to the ground.

Activists targeted two British printing plants owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, disrupting the distribution of several national newspapers.

Dozens of protesters locked themselves to vehicles and bamboo scaffolding to block the road outside the plants on Saturday which print The Sun and The Times, as well as the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Financial Times.

The group said it was disrupting the newspapers “to expose the failure of these corporations to accurately report on the climate and ecological emergency, and their consistent manipulation of the truth to suit their own personal and political agendas”.

Metropolitan Police imposed conditions on where demonstrations could take place, while protesters were also warned they risked a large fine if they failed to comply with coronavirus rules banning gatherings of more than 30 people.

Scotland yard Commander Kyle Gordon said protests had caused “serious disruption to local communities” in the past week.

He added: “Throughout this period we have become increasingly concerned the organisers of these events have not always taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus, thereby posing a risk, not only to those involved, but the wider public and communities of London.

“We remain in the middle of a pandemic and we all need to play our part in keeping each other and our communities safe.”

An Extinction Rebellion activist is arrested. Photo: Getty

He said officers sought to enforce coronavirus legislation “as a last resort” and had proactively told event organisers of their “public health risk”.

Mr Gordon added: “I would appeal to anyone planning on organising a gathering to consider your responsibilities under the regulations, and to do all you can to help keep our communities safe.”

On Saturday afternoon, an XR “Citizens Assemble!” gathering was dispersed by police in Trafalgar Square.

During the peaceful protest outside the National Gallery, activists sat on the ground and listened to speeches while surrounded by a large police presence.

Officers asked the group to move on, with most dispersing.

A Walk of Shame disruptive march through the City of London. Photo: Getty