Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested after blocking roads across the region

Traffic came to a standstill in towns and cities across the West Country today (May 1) as Extinction Rebellion protesters took part in a nationally organised 'Rebellion of One'.

Hundreds of single protesters around the country sat in the middle of roads to disrupt travel and bring attention to a 'lack of action' from the government to tackle the climate emergency.

Retired Queen's Nurse Gayle was on of those taking part in the protest in Cheltenham. Credit: XR Cheltenham

In an online post the movement said: "Today on 1st May, 2 years after Parliament declared a #ClimateEmergency hundreds of people across the country, terrified about government inaction in the face of this crisis, are taking action in their home towns alone, together."

One of those protesting includes a former Queen's Nurse from Cheltenham, who says the prospect of the her children facing an uncertain future is "terrifying".

A protester taking part in Bath was arrested for obstruction of the public highway after failing to move on when asked by police.

They sat blocking traffic on Bath High St before a police van arrived to remove them.

When asked why they were choosing to protest in this way, they confirmed they had tried "everything else" but to no avail.

They said: “Firstly I would like to apologise to the residents of Bath for the disruption caused by this action. I’m doing this as an act of desperation.

"As a young person my life will be irreversibly changed by the climate and ecological emergency and the UK government isn't acting quickly enough to avoid disaster. Young people's voices are often ignored when it comes to issues on the climate."

Police tried to move the protester on before calling for a van to remove them.

A protester in Weymouth said the prospect of sitting in a busy road was "not as scary" as a future where "wars break out over fresh water".

Emma Smart, a Conservation Ecologist said: “My actions today may cause local disruption but Weymouth will be among the first to feel the effects of sea level rise- with vast coastal areas devastated by flooding. I act today to prevent future disruption and protect our communities”

She continued “I’m terrified to sit on a busy road by myself, but I’m more terrified of a future where my 4 and 6 year-old nieces will face starvation due to crop failures and violence as wars break out over fresh water”. 

Avon and Somerset Police released a statement on Twitter ahead of the protests, saying although multiple were planned between Bristol, Bath and Taunton only one had cooperated with the force, which was the Trade Unionists.

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