Norfolk activists help shut down Westminster in Extinction Rebellion protest
- Credit: Jamie Osborn
Extinction Rebellion protesters from Norfolk have helped to bring Westminster to a halt as they demand the government takes urgent action on climate change and wildlife losses.
Groups of demonstrators shut down roads around Parliament and Whitehall on Monday, with vehicles and bikes, and banners reading "tell the truth" and "No coal mines, no fracking".
Parliament Square was empty of traffic except for police vans and bicycles, while helicopters circled overhead, as protesters created roadblocks on Westminster and Lambeth Bridges, Victoria Street, Whitehall and the Mall.
The Norwich Extinction Rebellion group has occupied a site in Horse Guards Parade, along with hundreds of activists from other local groups from the East of England and the Midlands.
Among them is Jamie Osborn, a Green city councillor, who said he intends to remain at the protests for the two weeks they are due to last.
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He said: "We've been in Horse Guards Parade since 8am, having camped in Hyde Park last night. There have been about 10 arrests so far, although nobody from Norwich or Norfolk yet."
But he said the police had taken away items which the protesters had taken to the campaign, including gazebos, oat milk and art equipment, although they have since been replaced with donations from other groups. He said police had also been stopping and searching activists.
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Mr Osborn said: "I'm doing this for our future. It's a last resort. But people have been protesting about this for 30 years and I want to be able to live for another 30 years.
"We need the government to declare a climate emergency and we need them to act to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025."
The action, which follows similar protests in London in April, is due to continue for two weeks.
By 3pm, the Metropolitan Police said 148 people had been arrested in connection with the protests.
As the protests get under way, one of the world's top climate researchers has issued a stark warning that renewables won't be enough to tackle climate change.
Corinne Le Quere, professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia said the battle to avoid catastrophic temperature rises will need to become a personal issue for everybody.
Speaking on the Politics at the Edge podcast, produced by the UEA's politics department, Prof Le Quere said: "Once renewables are deployed and you have renewable electricity then you have to tackle things like our day to day lives such as car transport, heating - even the food we eat. This starts to get very personal.
"You have to put in place policies that affect your choices, your everyday life - then you hit issues of justice, who pays, who needs to relocate for their job.
"The emissions we put in the atmosphere come from pretty much everything we do in our day to day lives".