Extinction Rebellion climate protest enters day FOUR – as police are filmed dancing with protesters – Evening Standard


London faces a fourth day of chaos as climate change eco-warriors blockade key points around the capital as part of a global protest.

Police have so far made 400 arrests but were last night filmed dancing with activists at Oxford Circus in central London.

In the video, two police officers are seen pumping their fists in the air amid shouts of “we love it, we love it” in the centre of a large crowd of dancing protesters.

When the music stops, the police officers are given a round of applause.

“I think it’s really important people have fun when they’re rebelling,” a smiling XR co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on Thursday.

“If democracy is not being honoured, then people have the right to mass disruption. People are having a fantastic time on the streets,” she added.  

“Not the people trying to get about their daily lives.They’re not having a fantastic time, they’re having an utterly miserable time,” responded presenter Nick Robinson.

When Ms Bradbrook suggested people “take time off work and join us”, the radio host replied: “They may not frankly have the privilege that you do in order to choose when you can go to work.”

Met Police chief Jane Connors admitted the protestors had become a “strain” on resources.

“It is a strain. They’re a strain on police resources. We trying to manage all of our business as usual and the priorities that we have for our communities,” she told LBC, stressing a “sustainable policing plan” had been created so that all necessary arrests could continue to be made. 

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The Met has refused to discuss fears that the capital’s cells are being rapidly overwhelmed by the demonstrators, suggesting a rising lack of capacity for other offenders.

“Contingency plans are in place should custody suites become full. We will not discuss [the matter] further for operational reasons,” said a Met spokesperson.

The protests have also spread as far as New York, with more activists in the Big Apple blocking Brooklyn Bridge in a lie-down protest.

Demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion (XR) have vowed to maintain roadblocks across Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.

Their protests were mirrored across the Atlantic. In addition to the Brooklyn Bride, Extinction Rebellion New York staged a “die-in” outside City Hall.

More than 60 arrests were made by activists in the US who claimed: “Seas are rising, so are we.”

Police officers were filmed dancing alongside climate protesters who have brought disruption to London

In London, three activists will appear before Highbury Magistrates Court on Thursday, charged with obstruction on the railway by illegally climbing onto the top of a train at Canary Wharf station on Wednesday.

Met Police issued a condition on Wednesday, demanding XR demonstrators move all action to Marble Arch in order to clear the “seriously disrupted” Waterloo Bridge.

Hundreds of protesters brought Oxford Circus to a standstill (EPA)

Some Londoners called on police to take action to clear the bridge today.

There were also warnings of travel disruption in central London.  This was compounded by serious delays on the Tube.

Transport for London tweeted: “Central London / Extinction Rebellion – Bus routes which usually serve stops in central London remain diverted / curtailed due to an on-going protest which is blocking several roads.”

Activists said they plan to continue roadblocks, which have affected more than half a million people with traffic gridlock and disruption to transport and businesses, until at least next Friday.

Robin Boardman-Pattison, 21, who walked off during an interview with Sky News, said activists were planning to step up action on the rail and London Underground network.

“We will be escalating our disruption throughout the week,” he said. “The impact to the Tube system will grow.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said “we’ve got the message” after some Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists glued themselves to a train and others chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn’s garden fence.

Scotland Yard said more than 100 people were arrested on Wednesday, bringing the total to almost 400 as ongoing protests continue in Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.

On Wednesday night, campaigners were playing a cat-and-mouse game with police, who promised to continue the operation overnight.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter: “We’re facing a climate emergency. I fully support the right of protesters to protest on this vital issue, and urge organisers to work with police to ensure their demonstrations are peaceful and lawful and that disruption is kept to a minimum.”

His comments angered John Apter, the chairman of the Police Federation, who told the Telegraph that “officers are under enough pressure as it is”.

“What we don’t need, as well-intended as it might be, is a politician aggravating the situation and making it worse,” said Mr Apter.




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