Traf­fic ‘may­hem’ as ac­tivists block road

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Congestion Worries - By Ge­or­gia Woolf [email protected]­m­

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.”

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