Hundreds arrested from London to Sydney as Extinction Rebellion tries to BLOCK roads and bridges in concerted action (VIDEOS)
Eco-activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) are holding a global day of “civil disobedience” with disruptive actions underway and causing chaos and outrage in major cities around the world.
Protesters in Berlin gathered at the Victory Column near the Brandenburg Gate Monday morning. In a tweet, XR said “1000 rebels are finally demanding serious measures from our government” in the fight against climate change. The action continued into the evening with Potsdamer Platz, which was at some point occupied by some 3,000 protesters, according to the local media.
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) October 7, 2019
Hundreds of protesters attempted to stage sit-ins at the iconic central square, forcing the police to move in to clear the area. Reports said the officers were acting “with restraint” as they faced little resistance while “carrying people away” from the area. No information on the number of arrests has yet been released.
Police still slowly but steadily clearing the intersection at Potsdamer Platz, carrying people off it one by one. #FridaysForFuture #ExtinctionRebellion #BerlinBlockade #PotsdamerPlatz #Berlin @polizeiberlin pic.twitter.com/XdSrBdVmqe
— Jannis Werner (@janniswerner) October 7, 2019
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police made 276 arrests in London after XR unleashed mayhem in the city, blocking the Westminster and Lambeth bridges and gathering at Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and the Victoria Embankment.
Previous demonstrations in London in April saw 1,100 arrested — and XR say the new protests could be five times bigger as they gather steam over the next couple of weeks.
— DCMediaGroup (@DCMediaGroup) October 7, 2019
Public reaction on social media has been mixed. While some applauded the action as a necessary inconvenience, others complained that the eco-activists were causing more pollution by forcing cars to sit in congested traffic for hours, while others said they were wasting police resources as London battles a surge in knife crime.
I’m on the train to London to join the most important mobilisation of my lifetime: #ExtinctionRebellion
We face the greatest predicament humankind has ever encountered.
And we must meet it with the biggest movement there has ever been.
— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) October 7, 2019
Extinction rebellion is going to kill more people than it saves with all the pollution it’s causing with the traffic jams it’s creating. Engines are running in stationery vehicles everywhere
— Austin Mitchell (@AVMitchell2010) October 7, 2019
Protesters also blocked roads across Australia and New Zealand, with police in Sydney arresting at least 30 people. Climate activists in Wellington staged a “die-in” at an ANZ Bank branch, demanding that it “divest away from fossil fuels,” with some protesters even gluing their hands to the windows. Others occupied the lobby of the Ministry of Business and Innovation.
— Gus McCubbing (@GusMcCubbing) October 7, 2019
Wellington Police diplomacy: officers travelled on bikes to this morning’s Extinction Rebellion protest pic.twitter.com/djvBEtXIkL
— Seán Gillespie (@SeanDG) October 6, 2019
16 year old Oriah from Hamilton is chained in a circle of climate protestors on the end of Stout Street in Wellington. She’s prepared to get arrested for the cause. #ExtinctionRebellion pic.twitter.com/WOJcbnv23i
— Ethan Griffiths (@KiwiEthan) October 6, 2019
Police also forcibly removed and arrested about 50 XR protesters blocking city roads in Amsterdam after they ignored orders to move to a nearby square.
XR also held demonstrations in New York, Mumbai and Madrid, among other cities. On Saturday, hundreds of activists locked themselves into the Italie Deux shopping center in Paris.
Needless to say, government officials around the world have not been pleased with XR’s methods. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff told ZDF television that while the government shared an interest in climate protection, such actions were “dangerous” and “not acceptable.”
Australia’s employment minister even threatened to suspend welfare payments of activists who were “too busy protesting” to look for jobs, while New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said that blocking cities and preventing people from getting to work “doesn’t necessarily take us closer to the climate action they’re calling for.”
— Liam Vincent (@liamvincent26) October 7, 2019
Activists are likely to remain undeterred, however.
“Rebellion is the only solution at this point to not prevent ecocide and ecological collapse but to mitigate what’s happening and what’s on the horizon,” Rory Varrato, a founding member of XR New York, told RT’s On Contact with Chris Hedges.
Varrato defended the group’s methods, saying activists were committed to non-violence, but wanted to engage in action that was “disruptive to business-as-usual.”
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