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Teenage activist Greta Thunberg hopes to join climate change protesters

Swedish teenager and environmental activist Greta Thunberg speaking at a rally, in Rome (Alessandra Tarantino/AP/PA Images). Photo:

The teenage founder of the school strikes against climate change has said she hopes to join the protesters in London.

Greta Thunberg told The Guardian on Friday she hopes to join the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests when she arrives in London over the Easter weekend.

Her comments come as the protests at Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square were approaching their sixth day.

The 16-year-old Swedish activist is due to meet senior British politicians next week having already met with Pope Francis and addressed the EU Parliament.

She told The Guardian she would also like to join the protests if they are still going when she arrives.

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She added: “I would love to participate in their protests while in London if there is time and if they are still protesting.

“I think it’s one of the most important and hopeful movements of our time. Civil disobedience is necessary to create attention to the ongoing climate and ecological crisis.”

Pope Francis greets Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP Photo

Large numbers of police officers moved into Oxford Circus on Friday to remove the pink boat XR had installed there which has become a symbol for the ongoing disruption.

The boat, which is named after murdered environmentalist Berta Cáceres, was dismantled several hours after Dame Emma Thompson used it as a stage to rally protesters.

Police were initially forced to remove activists from the deck and frame as dozens of other officers formed a huge cordon to force back others on the ground.

Police dismantled the boat’s mast before it was towed away Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Activists tried to stop the boat from being towed away, with one woman gluing herself to the road in front of it in Great Portland Street, XR said.

But the group decided to let the boat go and then chanted “we love you” to the large police convoy escorting the boat before departing.

Earlier, on Friday morning, about 20 activists, most of them under 17, had staged a brief demonstration on roads near Heathrow Airport.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at London Heathrow airport Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

The scenes unfolded as the Metropolitan Police said it had made 106 arrests by around 5.30pm on Friday, bringing the total since Monday to 682.

In a statement on Friday night the force said it had focused its arrests at Oxford Circus to give businesses the chance to get back to “business as usual”.

It added: “One thing that is unusual about this demonstration is the willingness of those participating to be arrested and also their lack of resistance to the arrests.

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“To date, since Monday April 15, we have made over 680 arrests and of course that places a logistical problem on, and not just, the police service for cell space but also the wider criminal justice system.”

Ten people had been charged by the Met by Thursday night and three others arrested by British Transport Police were remanded in custody after they appeared in court accused of obstructing trains at Canary Wharf.

Routes are also blocked around Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Marble Arch, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid has urged police to use the “full force of the law”.

Actress Emma Thompson joined Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at Oxford Circus in London and addressed crowds from the pink boat Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

XR has pledged to continue causing disruption until its demands are met.

They want the Government to declare a climate emergency and take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.