Extinction Rebellion protest – Cops arrest 290 eco-activists after clash on Waterloo Bridge

COPS have now arrested a total of 290 eco-warriors on the second day of climate change protests which caused major disruption in London.

Officers clashed with Extinction Rebellion activists holding demonstrations at Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch as the capital was plunged into transport chaos.

Many had to be carried off Waterloo Bridge which they had blocked off – having caused havoc for motorists for more than 24 hours.

Fifty-five bus routes and 500,000 people are understood to have been affected by the demonstrations.

Protesters had earlier been warned they could continue to demonstrate but to gather only at Marble Arch, moving from other landmarks like Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus.

This afternoon, police said 209 protesters had been arrested in connection with the demonstrations.

Five were arrested outside Shell HQ in Lambeth yesterday on suspicion of criminal damage after the building was daubed in paint and glass smashed.

The other 204 people were were arrested on Waterloo Bridge on Monday night and throughout Tuesday for Public Order Act offences, obstructing a highway and one for obstructing police.

But the total number of arrests hit 290 by 10pm, though it's not yet confirmed what the additional 81 arrests were for.

Activists had today planted themselves firmly in protest spots – even gluing themselves to vans to ensure they were not moved overnight and surrounding a giant pink boat adorned with the words "tell the truth" in the centre of Oxford Circus.

At this time, ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruptions to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business

As a large group of officers arrived to remove the campaigners today, they were met with chants of "We are peaceful what about you?".

Others started to dance and chant in front of police.

There were loud cheers, the ringing of bells, and the blowing of whistles as people were quickly arrested and taken to police vans.

Campaigners crowded and rallied around a man who was screaming, "This is a fascist police state", as he was confronted by officers.

Many protesters still remain on the bridge, chanting for climate justice and refusing to move.

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said police wanted to strike the "right balance" between allowing a peaceful protest while ensuring the disruptions were kept to a minimum.

He said: "At this time, ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruptions to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business."

He said protesters who had flouted the order to gather only at Marble Arch had created disruptions, adding: "We are taking positive action against those who are choosing to ignore this condition and are continuing to demonstrate in other areas across London."


While some are supportive of the group's efforts, others have slammed the disruptive protests.

One upset Londoner wrote: "Total disgrace! Why are these people allowed to disrupt the lives of the majority and the Met stand by and watch.

"London now regularly paralysed by protesters and nothing is done. Let them protest in Hyde Park."

Another added: "Another day of disruption with no one able to get a bus in Central London. I agree with freedom of speech but if I can't get to work it's costing me money."

A third said: "My wife works near where Extinction Rebellion had one of their main protests and picnics yesterday. So much litter was left behind. Is this part of the protest in some way?"

In one case, a defendant failed to appear for his Southwark Crown Court sentencing hearing as he was "stuck on Waterloo Bridge due to the protests".

But the campaigners have vowed to continue their protests for as long as possible.


Extinction Rebellion said it aimed to cause more than £6,000 of damage so they could be tried by a jury in Crown Court. The campaign group said that "over 100 brave rebels" had been arrested, some willingly.

The group tweeted: "Day 1 of #InternationalRebellion saw actions in 33 countries, 52 willing arrests in London occupations of #MarbleArch #OxfordCircus #ParliamentSquare #WaterlooBridge #PicadillyCircus, overnight some occupations evicted. Day 2 starting, come and #RebelforLife"

Ben Moss, 42, from Islington, North London, was among those to keep vigil on Waterloo Bridge.

He said: "We're in an extreme situation, we have to take action, this is my personal action to the moral issue of the climate crisis and ecological collapse.

"I'm doing this because I want the Government to do something.

"I've got a week off work, if more is necessary I can make my excuses, I'm a director of a company, I work at a co-operative, but not everyone can come and do this."

He added: "I want to give this the time necessary, we need action, this will create attention."

Blythe Pepino, 34, from Hereford, said: "The purpose is to maintain the disruption on the bridge to bring the Government to the table and talk about the climate crisis.

"I think we'll be taken more seriously over time because we're not planning on going away.

"Legal marches come and go and there's not much action or coverage on it, civil disobedience is the only way to bring urgency."

London Campaign for Better Transport's Chris Barker said they supported the campaign, saying: "It's necessary to raise people's consciousness about the situation about temperature rises.

"We need to put it into the public domain."

Police confirmed overnight that a condition under the Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 would last for 24 hours.



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A TfL spokesperson said: "There are demonstrations taking place across London which are causing disruption to some bus services and on the road network.

"The safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority and we’re working closely with the police to manage the impact on London’s transport network. We would encourage people to check their journeys before they travel."

A Shell spokesperson said: "We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind."


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