We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.
Climate change activists will end their demonstrations in central London after days of protests with Extinction Rebellion (XR) confirming it will "voluntarily end the Marble Arch and Parliament Square blockades" in the capital on Thursday.
Eco-protesters have been urging the Government to declare a climate emergency to avoid what it calls the "sixth mass extinction" of species on Earth. Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, pictured, addressed a small group of Extinction Rebellion protesters in Parliament Square.
In a statement, XR said: "We would like to thank Londoners for opening their hearts and demonstrating their willingness to act on that truth. We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency.
"Around the planet, a long-awaited and much-needed conversation has begun. People have taken to the streets and raised the alarm in more than 80 cities in 33 countries. People are talking about the climate and ecological emergency in ways that we never imagined."
The group added: "It is now time to go back into our communities, whether in London, around the UK or internationally."
XR also said to expect more actions "very soon", adding that there will be a "closing ceremony" at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park on Thursday at 5pm.
More than 1,000 people have been arrested during XR protests which started on April 15, while more than 10,000 police officers have been deployed. As of Tuesday evening, Scotland Yard had charged 69 people in connection with the protests.
They were charged with offences including breach of Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986, obstructing a highway and obstructing police. Three others have been charged by British Transport Police and have appeared in court.
XR action has seen Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus blocked and a "die in" at the Natural History Museum. Elsewhere, activists have glued themselves to trains, chained themselves to objects, and some could even be seen perching in hammocks up trees overlooking Parliament Square.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
This article was supplied by the Press Association.