Activists protest in central London over fossil fuels
Extinction Rebellion was joined by hundreds of protesters who blocked traffic and called on UK ministers to cease investments in fossil fuels.
Extinction Rebellion activists conducted a sit-in protest in the center of London, demanding that the government stop investing in fossil fuels.
On Saturday, hundreds of activists converged on Oxford Street and Regent Street, obstructing traffic while chanting "save our planet" and "whose streets, our streets."
Banners with "Life on earth is dying" and "Code Red: End Fossil Fuels" were held as protesters marched into the West End and moved to Trafalgar Square.
Some dressed as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and Home Secretary Priti Patel held signs criticizing the government's response to the climate change situation.
The crowd contained numerous doctors and medical professionals.
On its Twitter page, Extinction Rebellion UK Tweeted that hundreds of citizens would be "standing up for climate justice and to end fossil fuels by simply sitting down."
🚨IT'S HAPPENING NOW🚨— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) February 15, 2022
⏲️ to mobilise for the greatest act of civil disobedience in UK history
⏲️ to end the fossil economy
WE WILL NOT BE BYSTANDERS
STEP UP 10am 9th APRIL HYDE PARK LONDON pic.twitter.com/PUDZFfKXTl
Verel Rodrigues, a mechanical engineer, described the situation as "dire" and expressed that there was no option but to act.
He apologized for the inconvenience but stressed that "if an alarm is ringing because your house is on fire, you don't get p***ed off at the fire alarm. It is trying to save you and we are trying to raise the alarm of what is about to come."
"We are doing this on behalf of everyone who deserves to have a liveable, justice-filled future," said Sunita Ramani, another protester.
Some passersby expressed frustration at the group and described their tactics as "obsessive".
"They have stopped people from taking their kids to school, they have stopped people from getting to work and to hospital appointments. It is just unacceptable," said Steve C.
The demonstration, according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, was "counterproductive", and activists needed to win over public opinion while also putting pressure on the government.
Metropolitan Police acknowledged that demonstrators were blocking traffic in both directions and that diversions were in place.
Commander Ade Adelekan stated that the Met has been in contact with organizers in an effort to avert major disruption in London.
Adelekan stated that the group made its intentions clear and intend to draw attention to its cause.
He defended their right to protest and acknowledged it would lead to some degree of disruption.
"However, the rights of protestors have to be balanced against the rights of the wider public, businesses, and community."
The group has stated that the "final push" is scheduled to take place every day for more than a week.
A week ago, British police said they had arrested 83 people in Essex, east London, within 48 hours, after climate change protesters closed the country's oil stations.
Hundreds of activists from the Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil groups began closing oil terminals across Britain on Friday and some supporters of the groups boarded oil tankers as part of a campaign to force the government to end its dependence on fossil fuels.