The Metropolitan Police said 135 people had been arrested by 12:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET) as activists shut down roads around Parliament and across large parts of Westminster in the UK capital.
The action is part of a larger coordinated movement called International Rebellion; protests are expected to take place in 60 cities worldwide.
“There is no Plan(et) B. The government doesn’t have one. The things we trust in life that we don’t even know we trust, they’re all incredibly fragile. Extreme weather will tell this truth for us unless the government does it for us first.”
Protesters created roadblocks, marched down The Mall (which leads to Buckingham Palace), locked themselves to vehicles and took over tourist hotspots to play music and chant.
Among the demonstrators arrested on Monday was 83-year-old Phil Kingston, who spray-painted the message “Life, not death for my grandchildren” on the side of Britain’s finance ministry building.
“The protest is being held to highlight the inconsistency between the UK Government’s insistence that the UK is a world leader in tackling climate breakdown, while pouring vast sums of money into fossil exploration and carbon-intensive projects,” an Extinction Rebellion statement said.
Kingston has been arrested multiple times while protesting with Extinction Rebellion, and said Monday that he refuses to “stand by … and will willingly accept imprisonment.”
The group says its key demands for this protest are for the government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025 and to “create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”