Tower Bridge shut for 4 hours by Extinction Rebellion protesters


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xtinction Rebellion protesters blocked traffic on both sides of Tower Bridge for four hours on Friday morning and unfurled a bright green banner urging the government to “end fossil fuels now”.

Activists brought traffic to a standstill about 7.30am to protest against the City of London’s “funding of fossil fuels” – though the bridge has since reopened.

Footage shared on social media showed a protester abseiling off the bridge to hang up the banner. Police later closed the busy route, causing long queues.

Police officers bring on shore an activist from Extinction Rebellion after they were removed from suspension cords

/ PA

XR later confirmed that two protesters were hanging off the bridge using suspension cords and had let off two flares.

One of the protesters, wearing a blue jacket, was removed from the bridge by officers and escorted into a police van, after being taken down from the bridge at around 11am.

However, the bridge was still closed off to protesters as of midday – causing large build-ups of traffic in East London.

Londoners on their commute expressed frustration at the protest. Ben Hirsch, 24, said: “I know that climate issues are important, but why are we always targeted.”

An Uber driver told the PA news agency that he is “worried” that he would not make any money on Friday as a result of the disruption.

“My main money source is this and I use this bridge most of the time. I have to take longer routes and have fewer jobs,” he added.

It comes after XR last week pledged to launch daily protests in the capital involving “mass participation on the streets”.

The protests will begin on Saturday at 10am in Hyde Park, with activists aiming to “disrupt business as usual.”

XR will stage days of “Action” on April 10, April 13 and from April 15-17, all of which will take place in Central London.

Last September, the Met Police made 508 arrests following two weeks of protests in London.

Protesters glued themselves to a McDonald’s restaurant, a pink table in Oxford Circus and multiple roads as part of two weeks of demonstrations.

Amelia Halls, 23, of Extinction Rebellion, said: “While people will struggle to pay their energy bills, energy companies make record profits. This opportunism is criminal, and shows disgusting disregard for the needs of ordinary people.

“Well, not in my name. I will not be a bystander any longer, and neither should anyone else who believes in a better world.”

Police officers remove a climate change activist hanging next to a sign

/ REUTERS

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to Tower Bridge at 7.30am and no arrests have been made.

Last week, protesters from the group joined activists from the Just Stop Oil group to block major oil facilities.

A number of oil terminals were forced to cease operations temporarily while demonstrators blocked access roads – preventing tankers from leaving the facilities.

In their latest press release, XR said there would be a “decisive shift in tactics”.

“There won’t be the use of big pink boats, tables or large infrastructure that restricts action to certain areas,” they said.

“We’ll be easy to find, easy to join, disruptive and impossible to ignore.”


www.standard.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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