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Climate activists yesterday blocked main roads, bridges and thoroughfares throughout central London in a bid to force the government to do more to tackle global warming.
Thousands of Extinction Rebellion protestors gathered in Marble Arch, on Waterloo Bridge, down Oxford Circus and across the rest of the city to call on politicians to help avert what they claim is a “climate emergency and ecosystem collapse”.
ELN went to Marble Arch, where thousands of people were gathered, with many planning to camp there until the government agrees to sit down and have a discussion with them.
Many protestors we spoke to believe the human race could become extinct in the not-too-distant future and suggest a rebellion is the only solution.
The group, formed in October last year, has three demands for the government – to tell the truth about climate change, to set a target to go carbon-neutral by 2025 and to put in place a citizens’ assembly to give the public a voice.
Some questioned Brexit being prioritised and suggested it is “a short term issue” compared to the potential effects of an increasingly hotter climate.
A protester we spoke to justified the occupation of the roads by saying the slight inconvenience caused by the protest was ‘far less’ than the abrupt impacts that will be caused by climate change, such as flooding, famine and war.
Another said: “Climate change is threatening our entire species, the human race and all the living species on the planet and we reckon, at the best, we’ve got about 12 years to sort this and get our carbon emissions way, way down.”
A government spokesperson told ELN: “We’ve seen first-hand the impact climate change is having on our environment and we share people’s passion to tackle this issue and protect our planet for future generations.
“As a country we’ve taken world-leading action to combat climate change, cutting emissions by 44% since 1990. But we are going even further, which is why we’ve asked our independent climate experts for advice on a net zero emissions target and set out plans to transition to low emission vehicles and significantly reduce pollution through our Clean Air Strategy.”
More than 100 people were arrested as a result of participating in the protests.