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Extinction Rebellion activist stage mass sit-down protest in central London



Extinction Rebellion climate activists have staged a sit-down protest in central London as part of its call for no new investment in fossil fuels.

Protesters blocked traffic in Oxford Street and Regent Street, the heart of London‘s shopping district.

Hundreds of demonstrators also gathered at Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park on Saturday morning before marching into the centre of the city’s West End.

The crowd sat down across Oxford Circus and the famous high streets it connects, chanting “save our planet” and “whose streets, our streets”.

They carried banners that read “I am here for nature and children”, “navel gazing into disaster” and “life on earth is dying”. Some were seen eating their lunch while they sat in sunny weather.

Those attending included Olympic gold-medal winning canoeist Etienne Stott, has taken part in Extinction Rebellion’s road-blocking protest in central London to demand an end to fossil fuel investments.

Mr Stott, who won the slalom event with Tim Baillie at the London 2012 Olympic Games, said he was participating out of fear for the future of the planet.

The former athlete said: “I am here to demand the Government end the fossil economy.

“We need no further fossil fuel investment.

“I am really scared for the future.”

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Another protester, mechanical engineer Verel Rodrigues, 27, of Bristol, said: “We are currently in a dire situation and we are appealing to the government to stop investing in fossil fuels.

“We have no choice. We are sorry to be causing this inconvenience but we don’t have any other choice.

“If an alarm is ringing because your house is on fire, you don’t get p***ed off at the fire alarm. It is trying to save you and we are trying to raise the alarm of what is about to come.”

The Metropolitan Police said protesters were disrupting traffic on Oxford Street and Regent Street.

The force tweeted: “A number of protesters in Oxford St. & Regent St. are sitting in the road, blocking traffic in both directions. Traffic diversions are being put in place.”

Extinction Rebellion billed the protest as part of “the final push in the plan to end fossil fuels”.

The group have said similar action to block “areas of the city for as long as possible” is planned every day for a week or more.

They have pledged that “our disruption will not stop until the fossil fuel economy comes to an end, ” according to the Extinction Rebellion website.

On Friday, two protesters from the climate movement shut down Tower Bridge by abseiling off the sides of the London landmark and unfurling a huge banner that read: “End fossil fuels now.”

The bridge, a main traffic artery across the Thames, was closed to vehicles, causing long queues.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the protest was “counterproductive” adding that demonstrators needed to win over public opinion at the same time as putting pressure on the government.

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