Extinction Rebellion to 'swarm' Square Mile before ending protests

Extinction Rebellion protesters in Westminster hold up letters they have written to their MPs asking for action on climate issues Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

Climate change activists plan to cause rush hour disruption in London's financial district before they bring an end to days of protests in the centre of the city.

Demonstrators said they will swarm into the Square Mile to cause roadblocks, targeting big business and banking.

The Extinction Rebellion (XR) group said its action in the City of London on Thursday is likely to last a few hours, and comes on the day it is due to end blockades at Parliament Square and Marble Arch.

A spokeswoman for the group said: "There's a public event which is what we are calling swarming, where at different locations in the City people will swarm into the roads and block the roads."

A small group of Extinction Rebellion protesters in Parliament Square in Westminster. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

She said the area is being targeted because "the financial industry is responsible for funding climate and ecological destruction and we are calling on them, the companies and the institutions that allow this to happen, to tell the truth."

She added: "And we're asking the Government to take action to address the climate emergency."

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.

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Parliament in Westminster Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

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."

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.

Extinction Rebellion protesters lying down inside the Natural History Museum in London. Credit: Mason Boycott-Owen/PA

Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus have been blocked in the past week, whilst some activists glued themselves to trains, chained themselves to object.

Some could even be seen perching in hammocks up trees overlooking Parliament Square.

Police remove Extinction Rebellion demonstrators from Waterloo Bridge in London. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

As of Tuesday evening, Scotland Yard had charged 69 people in connection with the protests.

Elliott Cuciurean, 20, believed to be the first climate activist successfully prosecuted over the fresh wave of XR protests, was spared a fine at a court hearing on Tuesday.

Members of XR have previously indicated temporarily ending disruptive tactics to focus on political negotiations but it is not clear what plans are in place.