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Issue #1931      September 7, 2020

Extinction Rebellion activists block roads to Westminster on MPs’ return to Parliament

Thousands of climate protesters took to the streets today, blocking roads in central London in a bid to disrupt Westminster as MPs returned from the summer recess.

Extinction Rebellion activists blocked off Parliament Square while protesters in Manchester shut down a major road into the city centre.

The protests marked the start of two weeks of civil disobedience by the campaigners, who are demanding the government take action on the climate crisis.

Activists lobbied MPs as they returned to the Commons to back the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill. The Bill, due to be tabled on Wednesday by Green MP Caroline Lucas, would see the creation of a citizen’s assembly and toughen up targets laid out in the 2008 Climate Change Act on emissions and aviation.

The group cancelled actions in April due to coronavirus.

By early afternoon at least five protesters had been arrested in London after sitting in the road. Dozens of police officers carried them off to vans nearby.

An Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman said that there were many people prepared to be arrested.

She said: “People feel very passionately that this is the moment for change.”

Explaining the latest round of protests which follow last year’s “autumn rebellion” the group said on its website: “The government is failing to do what’s necessary to keep people safe.

“We are here, taking action, because their criminal negligence is putting lives at risk.

“We have an opportunity to turn this sinking ship around, but we must act now, not next year, not in ten years. Now.”

In Manchester city centre protesters shut down Oxford Road between Mount Street and Portland Street, while in Cardiff an activist scaled the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales and dropped a banner urging MPs to back the Bill.

Activists are planning to disrupt London, Manchester and Cardiff with a full programme of protests. Planned events over the next 10 days include a Carnival of Corruption theatrical protest outside the Treasury to highlight the injustice of the financial system and a “walk of shame” at the Bank of England.

Morning Star

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