London police restrict climate protests as arrests pass 1,000

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg (C) speaks at the Extinction Rebellion group's environmental protest camp at Marble Arch in London on April 21, 2019, on the seventh day of the group's protest calling for political change to combat climate change. (AFP photo)
Police in the British capital have arrested more than 1,000 people in over one week of climate protests in the city as restrictions are imposed on where people can hold their peaceful demonstrations.

Authorities said on Monday that they will allow protests to continue in Marble Arch while announcing that other areas in central London like Oxford Circus, Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge had been cleared of protesters.

Police said a total of 1,063 people had been arrested and 53 had been charged with offences like obstructing the highway. Among them was Etienne Stott, a renowned British canoeist who won the gold medal in 2012 London Olympics. Online videos showed four police officers carrying him away from the protest site in Waterloo Bridge.

Previous reports had suggested that police in London had demanded for reinforcements from other cities in southern England while many detainees have been transferred to jails outside the capital as cells have filled up.

The surging number of arrests come as environment groups Extinction Rebellion which has led the protests since last Monday had said it would halt the action to allow authorities to review its demands for more drastic measures to protect the quality of life in Britain.

Supporters of the group have crowded main transpiration hubs in London while storming the headquarters of major international energy companies, demanding they stop exploiting the nature.

A spokesman of the group, however, warned that the disruptions caused by protesters could get “much worse” if politicians were not open to their negotiation requests.

Protesters have called on the government to declare a climate emergency due to what they have described as an escalated ecological crisis in Britain and many other countries. They also want a legislation to cut Britain’s greenhouse gas emission to zero by 2025.