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Monday 27 January 2020

Extinction Rebellion protesters wearing gas masks block central London street over air pollution

An activist glues his hand to a brick during an Extinction Rebellion protest against air pollution kills in London, Britain, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
An activist glues his hand to a brick during an Extinction Rebellion protest against air pollution kills in London, Britain, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Laura Parnaby

Climate change activists wearing gas masks blocked a central London road to demand the next government tackles "deadly levels of air pollution" in the capital.

Six Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed in hi-vis suits glued their hands to yellow breeze-blocks in the middle of Cranbourn Street, outside Leicester Square Tube station.

The demonstration, called The Air We Grieve, involved 25 cement blocks which the activists said represents the number of Londoners who die each day as a result of air pollution.

A van parked sideways next to them was emblazoned with a sign reading: "Air Pollution Kills 25 Londoners Each Day".

Activists take part in an Extinction Rebellion protest against air pollution kills in London, Britain, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Activists take part in an Extinction Rebellion protest against air pollution kills in London, Britain, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Police later arrived in the street, which protesters said has "dangerously high levels of air pollution".

One protester, teacher Rosamund Frost, said: "We are here demanding action on illegal levels of toxic air in our communities, our schools and our streets.

"In February 2017, the European Commission issued a 'final warning' to the UK over illegal levels of air pollution.

"In May that year, after the Government failed to take decisive action, they were taken to Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice.

"The Government have neglected to tackle fatal levels of air pollution. How can we put our trust in them to address the broader climate and ecological emergency?"

Meanwhile, other Extinction Rebellion protesters were entering their fourth week on hunger strike outside political party headquarters in Westminster.

An activist lies on the ground after he glued his hand to a brick during an Extinction Rebellion protest against air pollution kills in London, Britain, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
An activist lies on the ground after he glued his hand to a brick during an Extinction Rebellion protest against air pollution kills in London, Britain, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

The strikers, including 76-year-old grandfather Peter Cole, have sent a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, inviting him to discuss the climate and ecological emergency with them on Monday.

PA Media

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