XR protesters shut down central London bridges including Westminster

Several central London bridges, including Waterloo, Blackfriars and Westminster, have been shut down by protesting Extinction Rebellion activists.

The group has carried out a series of protests this week demanding an end to fossil fuels. On Friday afternoon, activists staged a series of sit-ins on the bridges, cutting off some of the main traffic arteries of the capital.

In una dichiarazione, XR said: “We’re calling for an immediate end to new fossil fuel investments as part of the rebellion and ongoing actions by Just Stop Oil continue.”

Altrove, at least a dozen climate protesters have been charged after defying an injunction to launch synchronised actions targeting three key fuel distribution terminals early on Friday.

A scientist arrested for taking part in an Extinction Rebellion action at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is also on hunger and thirst strike after being held by police for more than 40 ore.

Emma Smart, 44, a marine biologist who has previously taken action with Insulate Britain, has had nothing to eat or drink since Thursday morning, according to her husband, Andy Smith.

Smart was one of nine scientists arrested at BEIS on Wednesday, and was pictured on the front page of the Guardian newspaper the following day. But while the rest were released, she was being kept in a cell at Charing Cross police station until she could be brought before a court on Saturday morning.

Her hunger strike was in protest at the conditions in which she was being kept, Smith said. She was being kept in a windowless cell, without a proper bed, and with the lights on 24 hours a day.

In a message to the Guardian from inside her cell, relayed by Smith, Smart said: “How come I’m the one being persecuted here for committing criminal damage with BEIS is still issuing new fossil fuel licences which will cause damage to the environment and future generations?"

On Friday, Smith was with scientists and medics at an XR protest outside Charing Cross police station. Jeff Waage, a professor of international development at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, held a placard outside the police station doors saying: “Science says new oil and gas = death.”

Egli ha detto: “The arrests of scientists, keeping them from speaking out, is wrong and it’s preventing us from actually reaching the public with important scientific messages that are coming out of international research.”

Smith said the Metropolitan police had initially refused to release his wife because they said wrongly she was breaking bail conditions by taking part in the protest.

After realising those bail conditions did not apply and were no longer in force, police then decided they would hold her because they deemed her “a serial bail condition breaker”, Smith said.

Ha aggiunto: “Normally when they do things like this it is for people that have committed crimes that impact on society heavily, abusive crimes or domestic violence or stuff like that – if there is a continued risk.

“In this instance she was arrested for quite a minor crime of criminal damage on a government building. Also there was no disruption there, it was a targeted protest, so it’s quite unusual for them to take this line. Legally they can, but it is quite unusual protocol for them to do that. She should have had the same bail conditions as all the other scientists, which was: stay out of Westminster.”

Seven Just Stop Oil activists were arrested on Friday at the Kingsbury oil terminal near Tamworth, Staffordshire, , where they had trespassed despite an injunction banning them from protesting at or around the site.

Others took action in Essex, staging road blocks and climbing on to fuel tankers on major tanker routes from the Inter terminal in Grays and the Navigator terminal in West Thurrock, which are on the banks of the Thames and supply petrol stations in east London and across the south-east.

Warwickshire police said 12 arrests had been made on Friday morning, while officers were also at the scene in Essex, according to the PA Media news agency.

Warwickshire police said: “Officers remain at Kingsbury oil terminal today and are currently dealing with protest activity after a number of protesters arrived overnight. There is minimal impact to the wider community at this time.”

The action at Kingsbury comes after the terminal’s owner, Texas-headquartered Valero Energy, this week obtained an injunction banning protests at any of its UK operations.

The injunction, which is addressed to a number of environmental groups and “persons unknown”, bans anyone from damaging any part of the land at each of the firm’s sites, from “affixing themselves to any other person or object” on the land or parts of access roads, and from building any structure.

Activists from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion have taken action at 11 oil terminals since 1 aprile, and say they will continue targeting fuel distribution infrastructure until the government agrees to a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects. Activists taking part in the campaign have been arrested 965 times so far, according to a tally kept by coordinators.

Among those taking action on Friday was Alex, 16, from south London. Egli ha detto: “I’m taking action because I’m terrified of the future for my friends and family.

“If we do not act with urgency to end our reliance on fossil fuels, climate collapse will be inevitable, and that means we will lose everything. All our certainties, everything we rely on will go. We will be lucky to have enough food to eat.

“Oil will destroy everything.”

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