Extinction Rebellion are inviting people in Manchester to ‘Reclaim the Streets’ and join them in peaceful, physically distanced protests.

They are calling for the Government to prioritise public health and well-being as the UK lockdown is eased and to invest in safer streets for walking and cycling.

Groups around the UK have been reclaiming streets by painting stencils of bikes in normally congested, polluted areas with non-toxic paint or chalk, to create their own pop up bike lanes.

Today (Sunday) they held a physically-distanced bike ride to ride the newly reclaimed streets.

Although the group welcome the Government investing an emergency £250 million to widen streets and bring in temporary bike lanes, Extinction Rebellion says the move doesn't go far enough. Not only will towns and cities need to make huge changes to allow people to safely socially distance, with the Climate and Ecological Emergency intensifying the depth of the change needed to make cities climate resilient is far bigger than any local government is taking into account, says the group.

They are demanding a citizen's assembly to decide how our cities should be redesigned in light of these interconnected crises, saying there has never been a more pressing time. The groups intend to highlight the depth of the problem on our streets this weekend.

The protest comes as the nationwide lockdown begins to ease with emissions expected to rise sharply as roads begin a slide back to business-as-usual after the last two months of cleaner air in our towns and cities. Extinction Rebellion are saying No Going Back to polluted, busy, toxic streets - as are the public, with only 9% of people wanting to go back to the way things were before the pandemic hit.

"This is the time to reimagine our streets. The increase in air quality is tangible to all. We can't go back to the pollution we had before where cars are king. It's time to share space equitably; putting people and the planet's health first. Enabling our children to walk and cycle in the way we did will make our cities and towns thrive with life."

Louise Wass, cycling campaigner