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  1. ITV Report

Climate change Extinction Rebellion protesters plan to target Tube as almost 320 arrested across UK

A demonstrator is carried away by police during the second day of an Extinction Rebellion protest. Credit: PA

Campaigners are planning to disrupt Tube services as part of a series of climate change protests which have led to 290 people being arrested in the capital, and a further 29 in Edinburgh.

Extinction Rebellion protests, which brought roads across the capital to a standstill on Monday and Tuesday, are expected to continue over the coming days, with plans to target the Underground network on Wednesday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "extremely concerned" about the proposed demonstration.

As the second day of protests drew to a close, the Metropolitan Police said the number of people arrested during the ongoing action had risen to 290.

Police say 55 bus routes have been closed and up to 500,000 Londoners have been affected as a result of the demonstrations.

A further 29 people were arrested in Edinburgh where protesters had blocked North Bridge, causing travel disruption and long tailbacks.

Around 300 activists blocked the route, calling on the Scottish Government to declare a climate emergency as part of nationwide demonstrations.

Meanwhile in London, the number of people held over the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations grew after a police order restricted the protesters to a site at Marble Arch.

Demonstrators during an Extinction Rebellion protest in Parliament Square. Credit: PA

Despite the Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986 in place that restricted protesters to Marble Arch, demonstrators continued to block the road on Waterloo Bridge.

In a statement, the Met said: "We are taking positive action against those who are choosing to ignore this condition and are continuing to demonstrate in other areas across London."

As officers made the arrests, they faced demonstrators who were refusing to move and began dragging people to police vans.

A witness said a man had knocked his head on a police van and fell to the floor, where medics tended to him.

Cheers went out as some others were dragged away to police vans, and chants of "We are unstoppable, another world is possible" rang out.

A small rave then began and campaigners danced in front of police.

Crowds even gathered around police as they were making arrests, accompanied by chants of "power to the people".

Demonstrators, including 6 month old Pheonix, in Parliament Square. Credit: PA

Police say officers are on the ground talking to protesters and local communities "to ensure proportionate policing plans are in place".

Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove spoke of the need strike the right balance between the right to a peaceful protest and keeping disruption to communities to a minimum.

He added: "At this time, ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruptions to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business.

“As such a 24-hour condition was imposed at 6.55pm last night which stipulated that protesters should continue any demonstrations within the Marble Arch area only.

Protesters in red on Waterloo Bridge. Credit: PA

"In order to impose this condition, the Met required evidence that serious disruption was being caused to communities in London.

"We so far have 55 bus routes closed and 500,000 people affected as a result.

"Based on the information and intelligence available at the time, we are satisfied that this threshold has been met and this course of action is necessary in order to prevent ongoing serious disruptions to communities.

"We are taking positive action against those who are choosing to ignore this condition and are continuing to demonstrate in other areas across London."

Protests are expected to continue over the coming days, including plans to disrupt the London Underground network on Wednesday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "extremely concerned" about the proposed demonstration.

"It is absolutely crucial to get more people using public transport, as well as walking and cycling, if we are to tackle this climate emergency - and millions of Londoners depend on the Underground network to get about their daily lives in our city," he said.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators camp near Marble Arch. Credit: PA

Transport for London warned that some roads in Westminster and the West End remained blocked as the rush hour approached.

Three men and two women were held on suspicion of criminal damage after protesters vandalised Shell’s headquarters on Monday.

Extinction Rebellion said it aimed to cause more than £6,000 of damage so they could be tried by a jury in Crown Court.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland called for the Scottish Government to "tell the truth about the climate and ecological crisis and reverse any inconsistent policies".

Organisers said they intended to occupy the North Bridge until 9pm.

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  • Who are Extinction Rebellion?

The group have emerged as the premier protest movement for climate change activists since its first demonstration last year calling for "radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse".

Demonstrators in Parliament Square. Similar protests are expected around the world. Credit: PA
  • What does the group want?

Extinction Rebellion (XR) says direct action is needed to force governments to act urgently on climate change and wildlife declines and halt a "sixth mass extinction".

They are calling for an ecological emergency to be declared, greenhouse gases to be brought to net zero by 2025, and the creation of a citizens' assembly to lead action on the environment.

Christian Climate Action glue themselves to a lorry. Credit: Twitter/CClimateAction
  • What are its methods?

XR uses what is calls "non-violent civil disobedience" including blocking busy roads and bridges, spray-painting government buildings and activists chaining and gluing themselves to buildings including the gates of Buckingham Palace.

On April 1, semi-naked activists glued themselves to windows in the public gallery of the House of Commons during a Brexit debate.

But they are not averse to more direct action. Five peoples were arrested after several thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to Shell's London headquarters on Monday.

On of their aims during the current protests is to cause more than £6,000 of damage to enable them to have a jury trial in Crown Court where they could use their appearance as a platform to spread their message.

Protesters at Marble Arch. Credit: AP
  • How big is the movement?

In its first protest on October 31 last year, the group assembled a protest on Parliament Square in London, expecting a "couple of hundred people" - 1,500 showed up.

Chapters now exist in dozens of countries including the US, the Solomon Islands, Australia, Spain, South Africa and India, XR said and activists in at least 80 cities in more than 33 countries will hold similar demonstrations to those seen in London.