Teenage activist Greta Thunberg joins London climate protest
Swedish schoolgirl travels to UK as police plan to forcibly clear out Extinction Rebellion demonstration
Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist who inspired the international school strikes against global warming, joined the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in London on Sunday.
Extinction Rebellion has occupied parts of London including Waterloo Bridge, Marble Arch and Oxford Circus with non-violent civil disobedience, to try to stop what they describe as a “a global climate crisis”.
Addressing hundreds of climate activists, Ms Thunberg, 16, said humanity was “standing at a crossroads” and activists would never stop fighting for the planet and for the future of their children and their grandchildren.
"For way too long the politicians and people in power have got away with not doing anything at all to fight the climate crisis and ecological crisis,” she said. "But we will make sure they will not get away with it any longer."
Ms Thunberg discussed her campaign with European leaders in Strasbourg and Pope Francis in the Vatican this week.
British police are threatening to force out climate change protesters in London who have been there since April 15.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said the disruption was not helping the cause of climate change and was stretching the police force so much that it could damage its ability to fight violent crime.
“I share the passion about tackling climate change of those protesting, and support the democratic right to peaceful and lawful protest, but this is now taking a real toll on our city – our communities, businesses and police," Mr Khan said. "This is counter-productive to the cause and our city."
He said that 9,000 police were involved in dealing with the protests, which have caused disruption around parts of London.
London introduced the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in early April, which fines people driving older, more polluting vehicles in a congested area, activists say Mr Khan has not been doing enough to address climate change.
Since the protests started, more than 800 people have been arrested, with 40 of them charged.
The civil disobedience was expected to go on until April 29, but the climate group said it would consider halting the protests if Mr Khan would meet its demands.
The organisation will meet at Marble Arch in central London on Monday afternoon to decide its plans for the week.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said on Saturday that the protests had caused “miserable disruption”.
Ms Dick said 1,500 police officers, up from 1,000 previously, were trying to clear the roads.
London police said they had moved protesters from roads around Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square, and they were trying to reopen Waterloo Bridge.
Updated: April 22, 2019 09:21 AM