Extinction Rebellion London protests – live: Huge pink table set up for crisis talks as climate campaign opens today

Extinction Rebellion protesters kick off two weeks of demonstrations

A giant pink table inviting Londoners to “come to the table” and discuss climate change has been erected by Extinction Rebellion protesters near Leicester Square.

The four-metre structure will remain at the intersection by Upper St Martins Square and Long Acre “for the long haul”, the group say, and represents how “everyone deserves a seat at the table to have a say in how to tackle the greatest crisis of our times”.

Building the structure, which is kitted out with a stereo and sleeping quarters, is the latest stunt by the activist group, described by one organiser as “the coolest club in London”, as they kick off two full weeks of climate protests across London.

XR say that thousands of people are expected to take part in their “Impossible Rebellion”, which plans to “target the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis”.

Demonstrations are scheduled in central locations including St James’ Park, Piccadilly Circus – similar to those carried out in 2019 – but more are due to take place in both north and south London.

The Metropolitan Police said a “significant” operation would be put in place to manage the protests over the busy bank holiday weekend, but acknowledged the activists’ “important cause”.

The group says disruption will continue until the Government agrees to stop all new fossil fuel investment immediately.

Key Points

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage as environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion kicks of another two weeks of protests in London today.

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 10:19


Two weeks of climate demonstrations kick off in capital today

Extinction Rebellion is gearing up for another two full weeks of climate protests across London.

The environmental campaign group says thousands of people are expected to take part in their “Impossible Rebellion”, which plans to “target the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis”.

Demonstrations are scheduled in central locations including St James’ Park, Piccadilly Circus – similar to those carried out in 2019 – but more are due to take place in both north and south London.

Participants are being asked to gather in Trafalgar Square at 10am this morning.

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 10:22


Calm as crowds gather in Trafalgar Square ahead of protests

My colleague Sam Hancock is reporting from the scene at London’s Trafalgar Square, where protesters have been gathering this morning:

Crowds are currently dispersed and calm as Esther Stanford-Xosei, of XR’s internationalist solidarity network, kicked off the movement’s morning festivities.

A chant was quickly begun of “honour and respect”. XR then said it welcomed all people of all genders and all identities to join its campaign.

“Everyone in this space is now a part of the rebellion,” we have been told, “even those of you in luminous yellow jackets.”

Around 20 police officers could be seen stationed around the London landmark. Meanwhile, news helicopters circle above as we down below engage in a Haitian song.

Chiara Giordano and Sam Hancock23 August 2021 10:28


Photos show crowds of protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square

Here’s a selection of photos taken by our reporter Sam Hancock who is covering the start of the protest in Trafalgar Square this morning

Extinction Rebellion protesters gather in Trafalgar Square in London

(Sam Hancock/The Independent)

(Sam Hancock/The Independent)

(Sam Hancock/The Independent)

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 10:56


Car horns blare as XR member delivers speech

Here’s more from our report Sam Hancock who’s at the scene in Trafalgar Square:

Passing-by cars have begun beeping their horns as XR’s Esther Stanford-Xosei proclaimed into a booming microphone: “When we are united, we cannot be defeated.” As she stood atop the iconic stairs of Trafalgar Square, members of the public with pink banners reading “act now because it’s too late” and “rebel for life” gathered below her.

Turning to fossil fuels, Stanford-Xosei asked everyone present to fight for the end of “global colonialism” in the “same way you are for the end of fossil fuels”.

Ending her speech, she told the crowd: “My brothers, my sisters, my children, I come in peace.”

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 11:01


Protesters block off Trafalgar Square with marching band

Extinction Rebellion protesters have blocked Trafalgar Square with a marching band to try and force the government to divest from fossil fuels.

Cockspur Road is blocked with hundreds of protesters in the road next to Nelson’s Column as part of the fifth round of major protests that XR have organised.

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 11:21


Heavy police presence as Extinction Rebellion kicks off fifth mass protest

Extinction Rebellion kicked off its fifth mass protest in Trafalgar Square today as thousands descended to demand the government divest from fossil fuel companies.

Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of the activist group, opened the “Impossible Rebellion” with a speech expressing solidarity with nations that are disproportionately affected by climate change.

A visible heavy police presence surrounded the protest, which is expected to attempt to disrupt London to garner attention for climate issues in the coming days.

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 11:44


Procession of protesters banging drums heads to ‘surprise location’

My colleague Sam Hancock has the following update from the gathering in central London:

Extinction Rebellion’s colorful processions have begun marching around Trafalgar Square, and are heading towards what XR organisers called a “bit of a surprise location”.

Thousands marched, banged drums, blew whistles and danced to disrupt the capital’s roads and demand change from the world’s leaders over the climate crisis.

“Stop the harm,” banners read.

“System change, not climate change,” read others.

Passers-by stopped to take pictures, and accept stickers from XR’s volunteers and members.

Hundreds are currently stopped in roads, which seem to be heading in the direction of Leicester Square, Covent Garden or beyond.

The “impossible rebellion” march continues.

(Sam Hancock/The Independent)

Chiara Giordano23 August 2021 12:11


‘Come to the table’: Giant pink table appears by Leicester Square

A giant pink table, sporting the words “come to the table”, has been erected near Leicester Square.

Extinction Rebellion say that the thirteen-foot structure represents that “everyone deserves a seat at the table” in deciding how to tackle climate change.

The table is located at the intersection between Upper St Martins Square and Long Acre.

Joanna Taylor23 August 2021 12:39


Giant pink table up for the ‘long haul’, XR say

Extinction Rebellion’s giant pink table will occupy an intersection near Leicester Square for the “long haul”, the group say.

The 13-foot structure is “packed” with “built in locks ons, sleeping quarters and its own stereo system” according to XR.

But it isn’t aimed at causing “chaos”, they claim, but to engage people with the movement and invite everyone to the table to discuss solutions for climate change.

(Sam Hancock )

Joanna Taylor23 August 2021 12:49


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