Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters' disruption to London commuters is a ‘side effect’

Simon Calder
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Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters' disruption to London commuters is a ‘side effect’

Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters' disruption to London commuters is a ‘side effect’

Climate-change protesters have once again brought traffic in London to a standstill by blocking key junctions in the capital – telling hundreds of thousands of commuters that the disruption to their journeys is “a side effect” to the campaign.

Waterloo Bridge, the main link between the South Bank and the West End, is blocked for the third day. Normally a dozen bus routes use the bridge, serving railway stations, offices and hospitals.

But members of the Extinction Rebellion campaign have set up an encampment as part of their demand that: “The government takes emergency action on the climate and ecological crisis.”

The group is calling for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to zero by 2025.

Extinction Rebellion says that plant and animal species are disappearing at a rate of 200 per day.

At Oxford Circus, a pink boat has been parked in the middle of the junction, which is normally full of buses and taxis, to symbolise rising sea levels.

One protester, who gave her name as Sian from Wales, said: ”What we're saying is: we can’t bring it down to individual people. We’ve been getting told for decades that if we all make individual changes in the way we live, that’s going to solve it.

“But it’s going to take a massive, massive spread-out of change, and that’s got to come from government.

“The disruption’s not about causing problems to individual people, even though we know that’s happening.

“It’s a side effect."

The campaigners plan to extend their protest to the capital’s Tube network. The Wifi system in stations has been turned off to prevent protesters coordinating while underground.

A spokesperson for Transport for London said: “We are aware that there are demonstrations taking place across London which may cause disruption to travel.

“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.”

Around 300 protesters have been arrested since the campaign of disruption began.