Protesters' die-in at Natural History Museum

| 23rd April 2019
Extinction Rebellion protest enters second week.

You are taking away my future, you're taking away our dreams - I want you to look me in the eye.

An Extinction Rebellion die in involving more than 100 people took place  under the blue whale skeleton at the Natural History Museum yesterday (Monday) as protests entered the second week.

Some protesters, wearing red face paint, veils and robes, remained to give a performance to classical music on the steps beneath the skeleton.

More than 1,000 people have now been arrested during a week of climate change protests in London as police cleared the roadblocks responsible for disruption in the capital.

Waterloo Bridge was reopened overnight having been occupied by Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists since last Monday, Scotland Yard said.

Olympic

Demonstration sites at Oxford Street and Parliament Square were also cleared on Sunday, while a sanctioned protest continues at Marble Arch, according to police.

Savannah Lovelock, 19, from Extinction Rebellion Youth, told a crowd of around 1,000 people at Marble Arch on Monday she was willing to quit university for the cause.

"I'm dropping out of university for this because there is nothing is more important than this," she said. "You are taking away my future, you're taking away our dreams - I want you to look me in the eye."

The Metropolitan Police said 1,065 people had been arrested in connection with the demonstrations by 10am on Monday, while 53 of those had been charged.

Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott was one of the activists arrested as police moved to clear Waterloo Bridge on Sunday evening.

Vision

The London 2012 canoe slalom champion was carried from the bridge by four officers at around 8.30pm as he shouted about the "ecological crisis".

Members of XR are suggesting temporarily ending disruptive tactics to focus on political negotiations as they enter the eighth day of campaigning.

A spokesman said there would be no escalation of activity on Easter Monday, but warned that the disruption could get "much worse" if politicians are not open to their negotiation requests.

The group will no longer hold a picnic on the Westway by Edgware Road Underground station, which would have stopped traffic on the busy A-road on the last day of the long Easter weekend.

Instead, at Marble Arch, the only police-sanctioned protest space, activists will meet to "vision what's going to happen in the coming week", an Extinction Rebellion member said, as she introduced Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to the stage.

Emergency

The 16-year-old was met with cheers as she walked on stage and told a crowd of hundreds that humanity was at a crossroads.

Earlier on Sunday, in what the group later said was an internal memo intended to garner feedback from members, Farhana Yamin, the group's political circle co-ordinator, said they would shift tactics to "focus on political demands".

She added: "Being able to 'pause' a rebellion shows that we are organised and a long-term political force to be reckoned with."

The proposal suggests negotiating with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Metropolitan Police to agree that they be allowed to continue their protests at one site.

Members would commit to not disrupting other areas in exchange for Mr Khan speeding up the implementation of the Declaration of Climate and Ecological Emergency, and considering setting up a London Citizens' Assembly.

They will also set up a political taskforce to take forward public negotiations with the Government, warning that they are prepared to scale up action depending on how much progress is made. Neither the Met nor the Mayor's Office would say whether they were considering the proposals.

This Author

Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on copy supplied by Press Association.

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