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300 arrested as climate change protests bring London to a standstill

The majority arrested were seized for breaching public order laws and obstructing a highway

AFP | PTI  |  London 

climate change
Police officers detain a climate change activist at Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 16, 2019. Photo: Reuters

Nearly 300 people have been arrested in ongoing in that brought parts of the British capital to a standstill, police said Tuesday.

Demonstrators began blocking off a bridge and major central road junctions on Monday at the start of a that also saw action in other parts of

The were organised by the group Extinction Rebellion, which was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world's fastest-growing environmental movements.

London's said that by Tuesday evening, 290 arrests had been made.

"We expect demonstrations to continue throughout the coming weeks," the police statement said.

The arrest figure includes three men and two women who were detained at the UK offices of on suspicion of criminal damage.

Campaigners daubed graffiti and smashed a window at the building.

The majority arrested were seized for breaching public order laws and obstructing a highway.

The protest saw more than a thousand people block off central London's Waterloo Bridge and lay trees in pots along its length. Later, people set up camps in Hyde Park in preparation for further demonstrations throughout the week.

The police have ordered the protesters to confine themselves to a zone within Marble Arch, a space at the junction of Hyde Park, the Oxford Street main shopping thoroughfare and the Park Lane street of plush hotels.

"We so far have 55 bus routes closed and 500,000 people affected as a result," the police said.

said he was "extremely concerned" about protesters' plans to disrupt the underground on Wednesday.

"Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change," he said in a statement.

Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new "citizens' assemblies on climate and ecological justice".

said the group had attempted to maintain a blockade overnight at four sites in central before the police came to impose the new restriction.

Protesters attached themselves to vehicles and to each other using bicycle locks, said the

"We have no intention of leaving until the government listens to us," he said.

"Many of us are willing to sacrifice our liberty for the cause.

First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 07:45 IST