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UK climate protesters seek to block Underground

April 17, 2019

"Extinction Rebellion" climate activists have said they will block the city's transport system on a third day of demonstrations. Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed solidarity with their cause but slammed disruption caused.

Protestors in London
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/NurPhoto/R. Pope

Nearly 300 people were arrested in London amidst ongoing climate change protests, police said late on Tuesday. More demonstrations were planned for Wednesday, including a disruption of the Underground, the city's subway rail network.

The Metropolitan police said that they had detained 290 people in connection with the "Extinction Rebellion" protests and that they "expect demonstrations to continue throughout the coming weeks."

London's mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement that he shared "the passion of all those protesting in London this week about the urgent need to tackle climate change."

"It's one of the biggest challenges we face," Khan said while endorsing the right to peaceful protest.

Subsequently on Wednesday, Khan told Sky News that he was "extremely frustrated" by the disruption caused by protestors within London's transport system.

"That's why I say to organizers: please work with the police, please work with the TFL [Transport for London authority] to minimize disruption cause to those trying to get about their business in our city.

That includes Londeners trying to get to work, but also others who work in London and do a huge amount to make sure our city is successful," said Khan.

The Underground carries 5 million passengers daily along its 11 lines.

'We have no intention of leaving'

Extinction Rebellion was founded in the UK last year and in that time has become one of the world's fastest-growing environmental movements.

This series of protests began on Monday, with demonstrators blocking the areas of Marble Arch, part of Hyde Park, Oxford Street, and Waterloo Bridge.

Read more: Extinction Rebellion: The activists risking prison to save the planet

Activists also targeted the Shell Centre, home to the UK offices of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, with graffiti and smashed one of its windows. According to the police, three men and two women were arrested outside the building on suspicion of criminal damage.

Protesters set up camps in Hyde Park and stood their ground in several points around London overnight on Tuesday.

"We have no intention of leaving until the government listens to us," said Extinction Rebellion spokesman James Fox.

es, ipj/msh (AFP, dpa)

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