Extinction Rebellion activists staged a mass protest in central London on Saturday, forcing traffic to reach a standstill as they called for no new investment in fossil fuels.
Hundreds of protestors gathered at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park in the morning before marching to Oxford Circus.
The demonstrators sat down on the roads across Oxford Circus, chanting “save our planet” and “whose streets, our streets”.
The crowd then moved on to Trafalgar Square where they blocked traffic and sat down with banners that read “I am here for nature and children” and “life on earth is dying”.
The group has planned protests in the capital every day until Sunday 17 April.
Verel Rodrigues, a 27-year-old mechanical engineer from Bristol, said: “We are currently in a dire situation and we are appealing to the government to stop investing in fossil fuels.
“We have no choice. We are sorry to be causing this inconvenience but we don’t have any other choice.
“If an alarm is ringing because your house is on fire, you don’t get p***ed off at the fire alarm.
“It is trying to save you and we are trying to raise the alarm of what is about to come.”
Commander Ade Adelekan, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “Extinction Rebellion have made their intentions clear in their public announcements that they plan to hold ‘mass action’ and block areas of London for as long as possible to draw attention to their cause.
“We have a comprehensive policing plan, together with colleagues from the City of London Police, ready to consider using police powers should the protest result in serious disruption or involve anyone committing criminal offences.”
An Olympic gold medalist was one of protestors taking part in the demonstration on Saturday.
Canoeist Etienne Stott, who won the slalom event with Tim Baillie at the London 2012 Olympic Games, said he was participating out of fear for the future of the planet.
“I am here to demand the Government end the fossil economy,” he said. “We need no further fossil fuel investment.
“I am really scared for the future.”
Stott, who held a banner that read “I will need a bystander”, added: “Our voice is the voice of ordinary people saying ‘no, not in my name’.”
A member of the public who wanted only to be named as Steve C, 50, of Ealing, west London, said Extinction Rebellion’s tactics have been “obsessive”.
“The tactics have given the Conservative party an excuse to reduce and remove all of our rights to protest.
“They have stopped people from taking their kids to school, they have stopped people from getting to work and to hospital appointments. It is just unacceptable”.
Protester Sunita Ramani, 23, of Bristol, who works in environmental communications, said the action was justified.
“It’s absolutely not our intention to annoy people and disrupt their lives but looking throughout history civil disobedience has proven to be the most successful way that people are able to make movements like this successful.”
The protest comes just a day after the group blocked Tower Bridge on Friday morning as two members abseiled from the side of the bridge and unfurled a huge banner, saying: “End fossil fuels now.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the Tower Bridge protest was “counterproductive” adding that demonstrators needed to win over public opinion at the same time as putting pressure on the government.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.