Climate change protesters chart a new course

Some of London’s busiest streets re-opened on Monday for the first time in a week as climate change protesters regrouped and plotted a new course after police made over 1,000 arrests.

The so-called Extinction Rebellion took over the heart of the U.K. capital in a bid to focus global attention on rising temperatures and sea levels caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

The grassroots group was established last year in Britain by academics and has used social media to become one of the fastest-growing environmental movements in the world.

But it abandoned four of the five main protests sites over the weekend in response to a more forceful police approach and an outcry from local businesses that claimed a heavy loss in sales.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also warned Sunday that protests were starting to overstretch the police and limiting their ability to respond to daily crime. “It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk like this,” Mr. Khan said.

Phase two

Extinction Rebellion organisers retreated to Marble Arch — a monument on the edge of Hyde Park that allows limited protests to continue without disrupting traffic.

The site has been sanctioned by the police.

The group said that its seven-day campaign has helped it raise nearly $3,90,000 and gain 30,000 new members.

The police said they had made 1,065 arrests and charged 53 people since the first protests took over a bridge and renowned London intersections such as Piccadilly and Oxford Circus.

The campaign has no formal leaders and its plan of action remains unclean.

Some of the organisers said that they wanted formal talks with the London Mayor and the U.K. government. Their list of demands includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to a net level of zero by 2025 and a halt to biodiversity loss.

The group wants the government to “create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice”.


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