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Environmental activists block parts of central London in climate change protest | UK News



Environmental activists have smashed windows as they vandalised the London headquarters of oil giant Shell – in protests aimed at grinding the capital to a halt.

In what as initially described as a non-violent act of resistance and rebellion, protesters are blocking five central locations and demanding the government declares a climate emergency.

However Sky News reports that the demonstrations have turned violent after windows were targeted at the Shell building in Lambeth, southeast London.

Photos showed the building vandalised with graffiti and the glass of one of the revolving doors at the entrance was smashed to pieces.

Hundreds of people have also blocked Waterloo Bridge, with Transport for London (TfL) saying the crossing was closed to traffic in both directions.

Protesters arrive with a tree to stage a demonstration on the river crossing

Protesters set up trees and a skate ramp on London’s Waterloo Bridge as they demonstrated over climate change.

Trees and trucks were used to obstruct the busy Thames structure as campaign group Extinction Rebellion kicked off the protests, sharing pictures on social media of activists walking on the road.

“We have taken Waterloo bridge!”, the group tweeted.

Extinction Rebellion activists lay flowers on Waterloo Bridge
Extinction Rebellion activists lay flowers on Waterloo Bridge

The busy shopping areas of Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus have been targeted as activists set out to create a “festival” of action including people’s assemblies, performances, talks, workshops and food.

Activists have also converged onto Parliament Square, where they help up placards and waved flags as speakers took to the stage.

The movement hopes to prompt the government to take urgent action on climate change and wildlife declines.

Protesters arrive with a tree to stage a demonstration on the river crossing
Protesters arrive with a tree to stage a demonstration on the river crossing

It has received support from actress and activist Dame Emma Thompson, who previously said of the demonstrations: “It is time to stand up and save our home.”

Former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has also backed the movement.

Speaking at a mediation on Sunday night, he said: “We are here tonight to declare that we do not wish to be at war.

Activists converge on Marble Arch in central London
Activists walk through Marble Arch in central London

“We wish to make peace with ourselves by making peace with our neighbour Earth and with our God.”

Protesters have been warned by Extinction Rebellion that they could face arrest for blocking traffic, while TfL said Londoners face travel delays.

A TfL spokesman said: “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.

The protests are expected to last up to two weeks

“We would encourage people to check their journeys before they travel.”

Organisers said the rebellion will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks.

“They will be blocking five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion where they invite people to join them for several days of creative, artist-led resistance,” the group said.

Protesters come out in force in Parliament Square

Demonstrators started arriving at London’s Hyde Park on Sunday to take part in the protests.

Monday will also see people in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries hold similar demonstrations on the same environmental issues, with protests in Switzerland, Spain and Belgium already under way.

Scotland Yard said they have “appropriate policing plans” for the demonstrations and that officers will “support the public order operation during the coming weeks”.

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