Police have called in reinforcements from across Britain after failing to smash Extinction Rebellion’s illegal eco-village in central London where activists were free to rave at a giant Orbital gig in Trafalgar Square last night.
The eco-zealots have even managed to expand their territory by almost a third overnight having already shut down two miles of roads around Parliament in the past 48 hours.
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse today revealed officers from forces outside London will be called in to increase arrests as those already in the capital were overwhelmed.
Today the activists began the day with a giant yoga session before again blockading Government departments starting with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA] – there will also be a mass ‘nurse-in’ by breastfeeding and bottlefeeding mothers next to Westminster Abbey.
Extinction Rebellion’s growing territory came despite Scotland Yard’s warning that they would arrest anyone not in the pedestrianised area of Trafalgar Square by the end of yesterday.
But last night, in the streets under Nelson’s Column, thousands of XR supporters partied into the night at a gig headlined by dance band Orbital.
And the hundreds of tents pitched all along Whitehall, past Downing Street and around Parliament Square – and a central camp in St James Park – still remain this morning as the Met failed in its promise to clear them.
Activists were free to rave at a giant Orbital gig and party in Trafalgar Square last night (pictured) – ignoring a warning from police that they faced arrest
Yoga sessions at dawn today as XR tightened their grip on the centre of London – currently the world’s largest eco-camp
Police have been slow to clear the camps – including this one on Marsham Street close to the Home Office headquarters
The main XR camp has been set up in St James Park with people pitching tents at the rear of Treasury building by Horseguard’s Parade
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove talks to an Extinction Rebellion protester and takes a leaflet at the back of Downing Street today
Extinction Rebellion have actually increased the spread of their protest overnight – despite police pledging to force them back to Trafalgar Square
Scotland Yard has been accused of ‘standing around the edges’ as up to 30,000 people flooded central London – making around 580 arrests in the past two days.
XR members have also taken a vow to refuse bail in bid to fill London’s 700 police cells – with 5,000 people said to have pledged to be arrested.
Last night it emerged XR is raking in £40,000-a-day in donations during the protests that have paralysed London, as the Met has been forced to admit they have been overwhelme.
The group’s head of finance, former banker Andrew Medhurst, said £125,000 had been raised after police raided its warehouse in south London and seized equipment, The Times reported.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Metropolitan Police should be taking ‘more robust action’ against demonstrators who have effectively taken over the streets surrounding Parliament.
Some glued themselves to the Department for Transport building yesterday and to a lorry outside the Home Office in their ‘direct action’ against what they say is the Government’s failure to take climate change seriously.
Scotland Yard’s attempts to reopen two miles of streets around Parliament failed – hours after warning they would arrest anyone who had not moved to the pedestrianised area of Trafalgar Square around its fountains.
Instead Extinction Rebellion were able to set up a ‘village’ on the roads under Nelson’s Column with its own improvised cycle lane, food stalls, community kitchen and a ‘well-being sanctuary’ for tired or stressed environmentalists as well as an extraordinary outdoor rave where people spent hours ‘dancing their feelings’.
A group have also placed 800 potted trees outside Parliament as they called on Boris Johnson to plant billions more across the UK.
And a new plot to shut down London City Airport for up to three days from 9am on Thursday by occupying the terminal emerged.
Over 100 members of the group are planning to attend City Airport, claiming that the plan is to do a ‘Hong Kong’ style occupation of the terminal building, which will involve demonstrators sitting and lying in front of the departure and arrival gates.
Extinction Rebellion activists continue protesting outside Whitehall on Tuesday evening. 531 people have been arrested so far in the first two days of the protests
A protester is detained during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Whitehall on Tuesday evening, the second day of two weeks of protests
Extinction Rebellion protesters in the Wesminster area on Tuesday night. One person is holding a sign saying ‘We are all Krusty,’ a Simpsons based joke off the back of Boris Johnson’s comments about the protestors being ‘crusties’
Rows of tents in the Wesminster area on Tuesday night as the activists prepare for day three of protests in the capital city
Two happy campers getting ready for bed after a day spent protesting. One of them holds a placard up saying ‘Citizens for Survival
A crowd surrounds protestors who are being removed from the metal pipes used to join them in Whitehall on Tuesday
Protestors wait for the police to arrest them and remove from the metal pipes used to join them in Whitehall outside Downing Street on Tuesday evening
A supportive crowd surrounds protestors who are being arrested and removed from the metal pipes used to join them in Whitehall outside Downing Street
Extinction Rebellion have started the October action which has blocked roads in central London for up to two weeks. Pictured: a protestor gets carried away by police
As well as this organisers have been communicating with protesters throughout the day, advising them of the sites which remain occupied and encouraging them to ‘keep going’. Messages exchanged between organisers and protesters also reveal that so-called ‘Plan C’ sites are to be more disruptive than others.
Admitting defeat Inspector Simon Rooke, who is based in the square, said: ‘At this time we are saying ‘If you want to protest by all means protest but you need to do it here’.’
And when asked why police had failed to stop them setting up camp despite weeks preparing he said: ‘They are very well organised and very well-funded. That’s all I can say’, according to The Times.
Police have been criticised by many for their so-called ‘softly-softly approach’. Officers have been seen smiling and chatting with detainees and it is reported that instructions have been given to ensure the non-violent demonstrators are not injured.
Hoards of people were seen in central London as many gathered to protest across 12 sites in the city. The group have also announced plans to continue strikes at London City Airport
Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters dance to music as they block a street at the bottom of Trafalgar Square without arrest
While being watched by the police, activists have set up a ‘village’ with its own improvised cycle lane, food stalls (pictured), and a ‘well-being sanctuary’ for tired or stressed environmentalists in Trafalgar Square
A group have also placed 800 potted trees outside Parliament, each with the name of an MP attached, as they called on Boris Johnson to plant billions more across the UK
It took eight police officers to remove a single protester on Millbank as the Met pledged to arrest anyone who has not yet removed
One woman (pictured above) was seen being carried away by a group of officers, many of which have been criticised by people for their ‘soft’ tactics’ during the protests
A woman laughs with supporters as four police officer drag her to the van after she refused to leave the area outside th Home Office
A similar number of police were required to arrest a woman who refused to move from a road leading to Parliament Square
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, whose building was blockaded this morning, said police were not being ‘proactive’ enough and were instead ‘standing around the edges’ as the activists grabbed control.
He told LBC: ‘It cannot be right that people are able to set up tents in the middle of the street and then not simply be removed.
‘If you parked your car in the middle of the street, it would be removed and you would be fined. If you refused to move it you would be up in court.
‘We cannot have a situation where there are separate sets of rules. Walking in here I can see entire roads blocked with tents set up and the police standing around the edges. I do think that the police need to be perhaps a little bit more pro-active and lean into this.’
Police officers remove an activist from outside the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs with each person refusing to move they need to be lifted
XR rebels are refusing to move and have been trained to remain limp as police carry them away to police vans
Protesters are refusing to cooperate with police and even have advisers to help them ‘resist peacefully’ when arrested
Yesterday XR members began gluing themselves to the Department for Transport headquarters in Horseferry Road as they pledged to blockade every Government department.
A lorry was also parked in the middle of the road outside the Home Office with activists lying under it – and vegans shouting ‘beef equals grief’ have forced out Smithfield Market meat traders and are using their stalls to hand out fruit and vegetables.
Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said his officers will impose ‘new conditions’ using the public order act to clear thousands from the streets of Westminster – but just 471 people were held in the past 36 hours.
He said: ‘People can now only lawfully protest in the pedestrianised area of Trafalgar Square – off the road. Anyone else protesting in that Westminster area, linked to Extinction Rebellion, are committing an offence and will be arrested’.
Up to 30,000 climate change activists are again blocking roads and bridges around Parliament as they attempt to inflict maximum turmoil in the capital.
Activist Mike Gumn, 33, an NHS manager from Bristol, said: ‘We will decide as a group when we are going to move, and we are not going to let police tell us when. I would not like to get arrested, but if that happens when I am exercising my right to protest and deliver a good life for my children, then I will take it on the chin.’
One activist in his 20s outside the Home Office added: ‘They (police) came round and told us that we should be moving on. I don’t think we are going to move on. It’s not a risk if you know you’re going to be arrested. It’s something I’ll do if I need to’.
There is also growing anger after members pitched tents against the memorial for all the women who served our country in the Second World War on Whitehall.
His comrade appeared to have glued her hand to the floor as activists plan to disrupt every Government department’s building
A protester who has glued his hand to a door as part of an Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest outside the Department for Transport in Horseferry Road, Westminster
A lorry blocks Marsham Street, outside the entrance to the Home Office, another Government department targeted
Protesters lean their banners, tents and event a lilo against the memorial for all the women who served our country in the Second World War
Former Tory party treasurer Lord Andrew Fraser confronts protesters in Westminster and shakes his fist at them while wearing his dressing gown this morning
Police have blocked the road outside the front doors of the Home Office, where an Extinction Rebellion lorry is parked diagonally.
A protester has glued one hand to the ground and the other hand to a bicycle lock around their neck, at Millbank near to the junction with Great College Street
Hundreds of protesters are sat at either side of the police blockade, where a few tents from last night’s camp out are still pitched.
Claudia Fisher, 57, from Brighton, said: ‘We are a little bit crusty, I’ll put my hands up to it, after a night sleeping out on the grounds of Whitehall, but we’re not unco-operative. We’re actually very co-operative.
‘We don’t take offence, we don’t have blame, we don’t go around calling people names, that’s not the way we do things.
‘We actually really value what everyone has to say and would really like to hear what he has to say.
‘We’d really like him to show us the same respect and hear what we have to say.’
Former Metropolitan Police detective sergeant John Curran, 49, who camped overnight at the protests, said he was willing to be arrested again after being detained by officers during the first round of action in April.
Mr Curran, who is father to a three-year-old daughter and now makes guitars for a living in Oxford, said: ‘I am willing to be arrested again unless some changes happen.
‘Clearly there is some frustration (for the police) that they probably have better things to be doing, and I agree, but the responsibility for that must lie with the Government. Take action and we won’t have to be here.’
Police are surrounding protesters but the majority will not move on, which is leading to their eventual arrest
Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrate at Whitehall as dawn breaks on day 2 of their two weeks of protests in London
Row after row of tents line Whitehall with as XR supporters blockade all Government departments in London
Extinction Rebellion climate protesters were being arrested outside the Home office this morning where a lorry blocked the road
‘Food justice’ campaigners also set up camp outside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Marsham Street
Protesters chained to a hearse during the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest in Trafalgar Square
Protesters will be allowed to protest in Trafalgar Square, where they have decorated Nelson’s Column
A XR activist pokes her head out of her tent to speak to police in a huge camp that has been set up close to Parliament Square by the pressure group
Inside the Home Office people glued themselves to the doors including a pair of pensioners who were holding hands
Protesters attached to barrels at the Department Of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy this morning
The first activist who glued herself to the DfT building brought a book but was not there very long before police arrested her
A young protester smiles as a police officer read her Section 14 of the Public Order Act – warning her she would be arrested unless she left the area
Protest organisers praise rebels for forcing police to ‘crank up their response’
Organisers behind the protests and occupations across London have praised their supporters and urged them to ‘stay clam’ through police intervention.
This afternoon rebels claimed they were holding 8 of the 12 sites across London and conversation shared between members on their private messaging board reveal just how much of the city they are occupied.
In a message to fellow rebels, organisers urged them to ‘keep going’ and shared a detailed plan of which sites were occupied most.
1: Marsham St – We Are All Crew by far the densest site with 1000 rebels! Tents being encouraged to move by the police but morning dance vibes prevail Gluing on actions occurring at 4 Government buildings within site, but police removal teams are moving fast. Laura the lorry looking threatened with police surround, 70 tents, 12 gazebos.
2: Millbank – the North are under a lot of pressure from police, looking like one roadblock about to go. Most tents packed up, arrests occurring and losing infrastructure. Brave and courageous rebels, we love you!
3: Lambeth Bridge – Big ups to the SW & Faith groups for an immense 12hr stand off yesterday with over 60 arrests. They have now merged with We Are All Crew
4: Horseguards – Love Rebellion feeling loved up 12 gazebos and 70 tents still up, seems calm, infrastructure growing! Kitchen functioning!
5: Whitehall – People’s Assembly in progress, Jacob Rees-Mogg just walked past – Strong determined vibes to continue to hold the site! Plenty of tents and rebels
6: Victoria St – The Scots are rocking it! 300+ rebels, holding site comfortably and currently underway with an action of BEIS. 60 tents, kitchen up and running
7: Trafalgar – Sound system on! Energy reviving slowly, lost some infrastructure in the night. Roadblocks good. A little thin on numbers, hoping for more to join
8: Westminster Bridge – After what we thought was a calm settling into night time, the police came back at midnight and cleared the site. Now moved to Plan B and joined Trafalgar. Huge love to the Londoners!
9: The Mall – good vibes currently after a spate of arrests this morning. 50 or so rebels, tents, marquees still up and only few police about.
10: Smithsfield – After a jolly night bedded down in Smithsfield Market, Animal Rebellion to take their 2nd site today on Horseferry Rd! Welcome!
11: St James Park – Global Justice now at St James Park, having a meeting this morning to discuss moving to a 2nd Plan B. 30 or so rebels. And toilets have arrived!
12: The Mall – XR Peace – are up and about and ready to join another site, possibly The Mall ��️
‘All in all… That’s 8/12 standing but this could already be old news
‘What we are doing is INCREDIBLE. It is HUGE. The news reports are rolling, the people are talking, the politicians are noticing. The fact the police are cranking up response means we are having a much bigger effect. Stay strong Stay calm ‘
A team of vegans also took over London’s Smithfield market, shutting out meat traders replacing their wares with fruit and vegetables – but around a mile away some protesters were pictured enjoying meals in McDonald’s and Pret.
The climate change activists, many of whom camped close to Big Ben, are blockading government buildings and demanding what the plans are for the climate emergency
Protesters brought chaos for commuters on Monday, closing down a large area of central London as part of coordinated actions taking place around the world.
More road closures are expected today as tens of thousands descend on the capital. Parliament Street, Great Smith Street, and Westminster and Lambeth bridges are expected to be heavily affected.
The Met Police said it had arrested 319 demonstrators by midnight last night, almost three times the 122 arrests made on the first day of similar protests last April.
Eco-activists who left London in chaos were branded ‘crusties’ and ‘importunate nose-ringed climate change protesters’ by Boris Johnson last night.
The Prime Minister told Extinction Rebellion demonstrators to ‘stop blocking the traffic’ as the city centre ground to a halt despite a massive police presence.
One climate activist has been sat locked to the top of a trailer, parked in Trafalgar Square, for more than 24 hours.
Other demonstrators counted down from 10 and cheered as the milestone was reached.
Speaking to PA from the roof of the trailer, the activist, Rob, 28, said: ‘It’s a story to tell my grandchildren.
‘It’s to show in a completely non-violent way that we’re willing to disrupt what we call order now and business as usual. To highlight what needs to be done.
‘We won’t tolerate business as usual. We mean no harm to anyone we know we’re inconveniencing.’
Rob, whose legs were both bike-locked to the roof, said that he had also earlier glued his left hand to the roof and had no idea when he would come down.
He was thrown a small tube of sun cream by a fellow activist.
A group of activists camped at Smithfield Market said they allowed traders to operate.
Animal Rebellion told the PA news agency: ‘Traders were able to operate, yes, we had agreement in place. There were tensions but overall the night went by peacefully and we made clear our message with holding the site.’
Extinction Rebellion activist Glenn Drake, 65, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, brandished a sign which read ‘Boris, sort climate change first, (then) prorogue Brexit’, at Trafalgar Square on the second day of the two-week long international protests.
Mr Drake is a Brexiteer, but said politicians should be prioritising tackling climate change before securing a deal with the EU.
He said: ‘I voted for Brexit, mainly because I don’t want to be part of a federal Europe.
‘But because of the urgency of climate change, we need to put aside Brexit.
‘No-one can agree on it, the country is 50/50 split, so let’s put that aside and let’s concentrate on the main issue, and that’s climate change.’