Thousands of environmental activists have taken to the streets in London to protests the British government’s “inaction” on climate change.
Five bridges were blocked during the demonstration on Saturday with police arresting at least 85 environmentalists.
Over 6,000 people blocked the crossings at Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark from around 10 am, according to the Extinction Rebellion group.
After all bridges were reopened, the demonstrators marched to a rally in Parliament Square, where officers cordoned off the statue of Winston Churchill after a green flag was attached to his walking stick.
The protesters, who compared themselves to US civil rights campaigners, maintained that radical action was essential to “raise the alarm” about the threatening climate crisis.
“We represent a huge number of concerned citizens – scientists, academics, politicians, teachers, lawyers, students, children, parents, and grandparents,” said organizer Tiana Jacout.
“We have tried marching, and lobbying, and signing petitions,” Jacout added. “Nothing has brought about the change that is needed. And no damage that we incur can compare to the criminal inaction of the UK government in the face of climate and ecological breakdown.”
Writer George Monbiot, who also participated in the protest at Blackfriars bridge, said the event was something he had been waiting for so long.
“People are risking their liberty in defense of the living world in very large numbers. It is only when we are prepared to take such action that people begin to recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis.”
A total of 50 people had also been arrested during similar events in London earlier this week, including the spray-painting of walls surrounding the House of Parliament.
Some others did things like chaining themselves together and gluing their hands to the entrance of the Department of Energy.
The activists demand that the UK government bring carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and abolish policies inconsistent with resolving the issue of climate change.
According to a landmark UN report released last month, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced almost in half by 2030 to prevent a global environmental catastrophe.