Climate activists bring London traffic to a standstill

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Climate activists bring London traffic to a standstill

Demonstrators take part in an Extinction Rebellion protest on Westminster Bridge in London, Friday, April 15, 2022.   —  

Climate activists brought traffic in London to a standstill on Friday, after blocking off multiple bridges across the city.

Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion activists gathered on London’s major bridges at Waterloo, Blackfriars, Lambeth and Westminster, causing cars and buses to snake along the surrounding roads and streets.

The movement organised the action to bring attention to the ongoing climate emergency, and call for an end to new fossil fuel investments.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police force said «pockets of protest» were causing delays and disruption across central London.

Friday’s protest is part of a broader uptick in environmental action in the UK, with groups such as Insulate Britain obstructing roads and motorways in a bid to get the government to invest in making homes more energy-efficient.

Environmental group Just Stop Oil has targeted the oil industry in recent weeks, with activists climbing on top of oil tankers, blocking access roads and chaining themselves to buildings across the UK.

More than 600 people in this campaign have been arrested over the past two weeks.

The UK’s conservative government has introduced measures aimed at curtailing disruptive protests, yet this has drawn criticism for infringing on rights to assembly.

“While we value the right to peaceful protest, it is crucial that these do not cause disruption to people’s everyday lives,” said energy minister Greg Hands.

Speaking to the BBC this week, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas recognised that, while these bridge protests could be counterproductive, they were the only way campaigners could be heard.

«I am sorry that it has come to this,» she added.

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