In just over a week of direct action against the government’s inaction on climate change, the BBC reports that more than 1,000 people in London have been arrested for protesting what they see as a pressing global crisis.
Since April 15, climate activists led by the group Extinction Rebellion have gathered in popular London locations like Oxford Circus and Parliament Square, calling on government officials to first and foremost acknowledge the serious threat that climate change and the ecological crisis pose to all species. And, on Monday, police announced that the number of arrests related to the demonstrations had hit 1,065, with 53 of those facing charges like obstructing the highway and obstructing police.
In response to the protests, London mayor Sadiq Khan opined that the demonstrations were “counterproductive” to the cause of climate change, and that they were making it so that the police did not have the resources “to fight violent crime.”
Climate activists, however, see this action as necessary. Since its establishment in the U.K. in 2018, Extinction Rebellion has fought back against climate change through non-violent civil disobedience, and has garnered the support of people around the world. One such person is 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who encouraged protesters at Marble Arch on Sunday to keep pushing political leaders to both acknowledge and address climate change.
“For way too long the politicians and people in power have got away with not doing anything at all to fight the climate crisis and ecological crisis,” Thunberg said from the stage. “But we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer.”