More than 1,000 Extinction Rebellion protestors have been arrested, police have revealed.
Activists representing the group are currently four days into a fortnight long ‘International Rebellion’ and have shut down a number of sites in central London so far in a bid to force the government to take action on climate change.
Extinction Rebellion campaigners carried out a similar protest, although on a smaller scale, for 11 days in April 2019 – during which 1,130 people were arrested.
Ahead of the protests the group claimed they had some 5,000 “rebels” who were willing to be arrested.
Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Met Police, spoke out earlier on Thursday to confirm that Scotland Yard had enough cells to hold and process all arrestees.
She said officers had been working 12-hour shifts in order to man the “huge operation”, which has seen hundreds of colleagues pulled in from police forces across the country.
“It adds up to an enormous number of people who are working very hard to keep our streets moving and to keep us safe from the protests,” she said.
“Responding to emergency calls is going well only because Met officers are working extremely hard.
“We have had to clear people from 12 sites. Protesters were determined to take over and occupy important arterial roads in London, and stay occupied for a two-week period. It is utterly irresponsible and completely unreasonable.”
Nine of the sites have been cleared so far, with police currently working to clear a camp in St James’ Park.
Trafalgar Square is the only other site still occupied in central London, with Dick confirming that police officers had remained in place at the former locations in order to ensure protestors did not return.
All eyes were on London City Airport today, as protestors started a three-day effort to “shut-down” the airport, modelled on protests carried out by activists in Hong Kong in recent weeks.
More than 50 people are believed to have been arrested including James Brown, a Paralympic cyclist who managed to climb on top of a British Airways aircraft, Olympic gold medallist Ètienne Stott, and former Met Police officer John Curran, who superglued himself to the pavement.
It is believed that similar protests are taking place in 60 cities worldwide, with images emerging of blockades in central landmarks such as Times Square in New York City and the Place du Châtelet in Paris.