Haunting pictures from mass protests

 

Powerful pictures have emerged of climate protesters from Extinction Rebellion (XR) blockading roads and holding mass demonstrations in London and across global cities on the first day of a two-week "rebellion" as they demand action on climate change.

On Monday an estimated 20,000-30,000 people attempted to shut down central London including the streets surrounding the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

MORE: Chaotic scenes on Australian streets

The activist group set up 12 key sites outside government ministries in an attempt to force the government to act on climate change. Protesters strapped themselves to a mock Trident missile outside Britain's Ministry of Defence, and last week, used a fire engine to spray fake blood on the Treasury.

Members of The Red Brigade of The Invisible Circus walk across Westminster Bridge in London. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Members of The Red Brigade of The Invisible Circus walk across Westminster Bridge in London. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

 

The group also planned to shut down London City Airport and sailed a boat emblazoned with a sign saying "Tell the Truth" past the Houses of Parliament.

Other protesters lay on streets, did yoga or dressed in "red brigade" outfits reminiscent of Margaret Attwood's Handmaids from her dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale.

By 8am Monday police had made 21 arrests in connection with the protests, after making 11 over the weekend.

 

Protesters in a confrontation with police in London. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.
Protesters in a confrontation with police in London. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.

 

Monday's actions follow major protests in Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington, New Delhi, Amsterdam and Berlin and 60 cities around the world.

Extinction Rebellion sprang onto the scene around one year ago in London and aims to force governments to act on climate change through a campaign of mass non-violent civil disobedience.

It is a widely-distributed network made up of cells in cities all over the world and is backed by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage activist who made global headlines with a blistering attack on global leaders at the United Nations in September. She first rose to prominence with a "school strike for climate" that also travelled around the world.

Getting into it in Melbourne. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Getting into it in Melbourne. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

In Australia, hundreds of people joined a sit-in on a busy inner Sydney road before being dragged away by the police. Thirty people were later charged.

"We have tried petitions, lobbying and marches, and now time is running out," Australian activist Jane Morton said. "We have no choice but to rebel until our government declares a climate and ecological emergency and takes the action that is required to save us."

In London, Harriet Thody, 53, a mother of two from Cornwall, southwest England, said: "We've got to make radical changes and the government are just not on it -- they're just banging on about Brexit."

The movement is partially credited with pushing the UK government in June to become the first in the Europe Union to commit itself to a net-zero target for harmful emissions by 2050. But now Extinction Rebellion is demanding governments reach that target by 2025.

Hundreds brought blankets and sleeping bags to one of the main roundabouts in central Berlin which police expect to be shut down for many days.

Dutch police said they had arrested 50 people after Extinction Rebellion protesters occupied a bridge outside the famed Rijksmuseum art gallery.

- With wires

Protesters outside Buckingham Palace. Picture: Tolga Akmen / AFP.
Protesters outside Buckingham Palace. Picture: Tolga Akmen / AFP.
The boat with a banner saying
The boat with a banner saying "Tell the Truth" passes Britain's Parliament. Picture: AP/Matt Dunham.
The group aims to remain peaceful. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.
The group aims to remain peaceful. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.
Protesters were arrested after blocking Flinders Street in Melbourne. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Protesters were arrested after blocking Flinders Street in Melbourne. Picture: Jake Nowakowski