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Extinction Rebellion activists halt trains in Canary Wharf | Environment

Category: Political Protests,Politics

Climate activists have climbed on top of trains on a London railway line, in an escalation of the civil disobedience protests that have been blocking road junctions in the capital since Monday.

Two activists linked to the Extinction Rebellion group climbed on to carriages at Canary Wharf station on the Docklands Light Railway, bringing services to a halt in the financial hub.

The man and woman unfurled a banner reading “Climate Emergency – Act Now”. Another activist glued himself to the side of the train. Within minutes of the action, Transport for London’s website reported “delays between Bank and Lewisham due to a customer incident at Canary Wharf”.

Thousands of people have taken part in the protests, blockading four landmarks in London in an attempt to force the government to take action on the climate crisis.

On Wednesday morning, the four sites – Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus – remained under the control of protesters, causing delays and diversions in the surrounding areas.

Almost 300 arrests were made in the first two days of the protest.

After Extinction Rebellion threatened to disrupt the city’s public transport network, Transport for London disabled wifi on the underground at the request of the British Transport Police.

Extinction Rebellion is an international protest group that uses non-violent civil disobedience to campaign on environmental issues. Demonstration have included blocking bridges to traffic in London and a semi-naked protest inside the House of Commons

The group says climate breakdown threatens all life on Earth, and so it is rebelling against politicians who 'have failed us', to provoke radical change that will stave off a climate emergency.

Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu

“We’re working closely with the police to manage the impact of disruption to London’s transport network,” a TfL spokesperson said. “Customer wifi in underground stations has been temporarily switched off. We will restore access as soon as we are able to do so.”

Passengers were not informed about the decision to turn off the network, and many travellers wrongly attributed the disruption to conventional technical faults.

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The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that while he shared the passion of the protesters about the urgent need to tackle climate change, he was “extremely concerned” about plans to disrupt the underground.

In a Twitter post, he said: “Targeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change, as well as risking Londoners’ safety and I’d implore anyone considering doing so to think again.”

The events in London are part of an international “climate rebellion” organised by Extinction Rebellion. Organisers said protests had taken place or were planned in 80 cities across 33 countries – from India to Australia, and around Europe and the US. In The Hague on Tuesday, activists occupied the international criminal court building.

Twenty-nine arrests were made in Edinburgh on Tuesday night after police cleared remaining activists who were sitting down across the city’s North Bridge. By 6am on Wednesday, all had been released and charged with breach of the peace, to appear in court at a later date. There are no further actions planned in Scotland this week but a number of protesters say they will travel to London to support activists there.

Extinction Rebellion was formed in the UK last year and held its first civil disobedience protests in London in November. It is calling on the UK government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a citizens’ assembly to devise an emergency plan of action to tackle climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

On Tuesday, Supt Colin Wingrove, of the Metropolitan police, confirmed a section 14 order was in place and called on the protesters to leave Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Parliament Square but they could continue their demonstration at Marble Arch.

“In order to impose this condition, the Met required evidence that serious disruption was being caused to communities in London. We so far have 55 bus routes closed and 500,000 people affected as a result … we are satisfied that this threshold has been met and this course of action is necessary.”


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