Friday 24 May 2019

Climate call: Arrests made at London protests ahead of Dublin march

Wisdom of youth: Activist Greta Thunberg has called on politicians to take action urgently. Photo: Getty Images
Wisdom of youth: Activist Greta Thunberg has called on politicians to take action urgently. Photo: Getty Images

Guy Falconbridge

Police have arrested 290 people in two days of protests after climate-change activists blocked some of London's most important junctions including Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, causing traffic chaos.

The protests, led by climate group Extinction Rebellion, brought parts of central London to a standstill again. And tomorrow they have pledged to target the Tube network.

Extinction Rebellion, which generated headlines with a semi-nude protest in the House of Commons earlier this month, is demanding the UK government reduces greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

Police said they expected the demonstrations to continue in the coming weeks and had to strike the right balance between allowing the right to peaceful protest while ensuring disruption was kept at a minimum.

The organisation told the Irish Independent that it was planning to carry out a disruptive protest in Dublin city centre on Good Friday at 1pm.

"We will gather at the Spire at 1pm and continue with a very slow march over O'Connell Bridge. We will take the march down to a 'no move march' and we will stay on O'Connell Bridge for as long as it takes to get a response from the Government," said spokesman Ciaran O'Carroll.

"We won't be blocking the Luas or emergency vehicles but we will be blocking road traffic.

"We have people prepared to stay there for as long as it takes."

Meanwhile, Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed European politicians in Strasbourg and told them that now is the time "to panic".

The 16-year-old told EU leaders in Strasbourg: "I want you to act as if the house is on fire."

She said that "if our house was falling apart, you wouldn't hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and environment".

During a speech met with a standing ovation, Greta fought back tears as she warned about rapid species extinctions, soil erosion, deforestation and ocean pollution.

In a reference to the international funding effort launched to rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, she urged MEPs and officials to use "cathedral thinking" to tackle climate change.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News