Traffic ‘mayhem’ as activists block road
Dozens of protestors brought city centre traffic to a standstill as they staged a protest to raise awareness of climate change.
Up to 50 campaigners from the Extinction Rebellion group halted vehicles by standing in the middle of St Peter’s Place for seven minutes at a time and giving speeches to motorists on global warming.
They then allowed some drivers to pass through before repeating the process at regular intervals.
Witnesses said the protest caused “traffic mayhem” on the major route towards the Westgate Towers for three hours on Saturday afternoon.
There was a higher level of policing than usual in the city, with officers seen patrolling the St Dunstan’s area.
Extinction Rebellion spokesman Nicholas Thurston said the demonstration was “a success”.
He said: “There was a really friendly atmosphere and so many people showed us support.
“The police were really pleased with how it went and the protest was really peaceful - only one or two drivers got really frustrated.
“There were two aims of the protest. We wanted to raise this level of concern with the government and also make people aware so they can raise their voices too.”
Mr Thurston previously said he expected hundreds to “swarm” the city and bring traffic to a standstill, but the turnout was not as large as anticipated.
Elsewhere, demonstrators linked to the international move- ment have glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace and staged mass sit-ins at the entrance to Downing Street.
With scientists saying there are 12 years to limit climate change to 1.5°C, the group is calling on local, regional and national government to commit to bringing down carbon emissions.
Mr Thurston added: “It’s not getting at car drivers or road users, it’s a way of bringing to people’s attention how little time we have got left to reduce our emissions.”