Extinction Rebellion: Police dismantle protesters’ pink ship in Oxford Circus | UK News

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Police have begun dismantling the pink ship in the centre of Oxford Circus which has been a focal point for climate change protesters this week.

Officers kept a close circle on the boat throughout the day, and eventually managed to get the last activist off, before beginning to take it apart.

The boat bears the words “Tell the Truth”. It has been moored to the street for the last few days.

Earlier today, Emma Thompson read a poem to the crowds while stood on the ship.

One of the last remaining Extinction Rebellion demonstrators attached to the boat, who glued himself to the mast, is detached and helped off the boat by police
Image:
One of the last remaining Extinction Rebellion demonstrators attached to the boat, who glued himself to the mast, is detached and helped off the boat by police

Police have been carrying activists away from the protests today, which have been blocking parts of central London. There were more than 100 arrests on Friday.

Extinction Rebellion, the group behind the protests, tweeted: “The police have started to make arrests in Oxford Circus after we finished reading out our poems to the crowd.

“We need the government to take radical action now.

“Please listen to the people. Or stand aside and let something better emerge.”

Dame Emma  Thompson has been accused of hypocrisy after flying from the US to join the protests.
Image:
Dame Emma Thompson has been accused of hypocrisy after flying from the US to join the protests

Sky News reporter Helen-Ann Smith, who is at Oxford Circus, said Friday’s gathering had started quietly but the mood has “shifted slightly” since then.

She said about 300 police officers had arrived and surrounded the large pink boat used as a symbol by Extinction Rebellion, the group behind the protests.

Later, officers started the process of freeing protesters who had attached themselves to the boat’s frame.

Police estimate that 570 people have been arrested since Friday
Image:
Police estimate that 570 people have been arrested since Friday

At 5.30 on Friday, police said they had arrested 106 people during the day, bringing the total arrests so far to 682.

Just hours earlier, about 20 young people from the group had gathered beside a roundabout at Heathrow airport.

They held a banner saying “are we the last generation?” – but, amid a heavy police presence, all roads remained open.

On Thursday, Extinction Rebellion had threatened to “raise the bar” at Britain’s busiest airport, which was expected to be used by almost 250,000 people on the first day of the Easter break.

Climate change activists are seen during an Extinction Rebellion protest at Oxford Circus in London, Britain April 19, 2019
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Officers moved in to surround the large pink boat at the centre of the protest

But by Friday lunchtime, the protesters left without having disrupted a single flight, saying they felt their message had been heard.

Meanwhile, actress Dame Emma Thompson spoke to protesters gathered at Oxford Circus, telling them “our planet is in serious trouble”.

She told Sky News that she had been a member of anti-climate change groups for decades and was frustrated about the lack of government action on the issue.

A fifth day of protests is taking place across the capital
Image:
A fifth day of protests is taking place across the capital

She added: “I really do care about my children and my grandchildren enough to want to be here today to stand next to the next generation who are so inspiring, who so understand the problem.

“I’ve watched successive governments sign successive agreements on climate change over the years and then I’ve watched them absolutely and utterly ignore the agreements that they’ve made because they’re not legally binding.

“When it comes to fossil fuels, democracy doesn’t come into it.”

British actress Emma Thompson (C) gestures as police surround the pink boat being used as a stage by climate change activists as they occupy the road junction at Oxford Circus in central London on April 19, 2019 during the fifth day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group
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Dame Emma Thompson told protesters the planet ‘is in trouble’

Dame Emma has also been accused of hypocrisy after taking a 5,400-mile flight from Los Angeles in the US to join the protests.

The protests have blocked Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge since Monday. As of Friday afternoon, only 10 people have been charged.



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