Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Extinction Rebellion to end disruption in London

But the group says more action is on the way

Environmental campaigners Extinction Rebellion will close their two remaining central London protest sites on Thursday, bringing 10 days of disruption to a close.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested during the protests, which started last Monday, as part of the group's campaign of non-violent civil disobedience to stop what it calls a global climate crisis.

Campaigners took over Oxford and Piccadilly Circuses, Marble Arch and Waterloo Bridge, blocking traffic with music and stages, yoga classes and discussion forums.

Other stunts included climbing on top of a light railway train in the financial district of Canary Wharf, and a demonstration by children at Heathrow Airport.

The protests have spread to much of Europe and beyond.

The activists are urging governments to declare a climate emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and stop the loss of biodiversity.

They also wanr "citizens' assemblies on climate and ecological justice".

The protesters said they would end the blockades at Marble Arch and Parliament Square on Thursday but they promised more protests in the future, saying direct action was the only way to bring the issue to public attention.

"We know we have disrupted your lives," the group said on Wednesday. "We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.

"Around the planet, a long-awaited and much-needed conversation has begun."

The group said there would be a "closing ceremony" for the protests in Hyde Park at 4pm on Thursday.

The protests took place after months of wrangling in Britain over its decision to leave the EU, with Brexit dominating the political agenda and leaving little room for anything else.

The environment is now attracting more attention in Westminster. Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg met opposition leaders on Tuesday to discuss what she calls an "existential crisis" for humanity.

Ms Thunberg criticised Britain's "ongoing irresponsible behaviour".

Environment Minister Michael Gove said he felt "admiration but also a sense of guilt" after he heard her speak.

Britain has lowered net emissions by 42 per cent since 1990, and aims to cut them by 80 per cent by 2050. Government advisers will suggest new targets next month.

Extinction Rebellion said that the days of disruption were just a taste of what was to come.

"The truth is out, the real work is about to begin," it said. "The International Rebellion continues. Expect more action very soon."

Updated: April 25, 2019 04:32 AM

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