Extinction Rebellion to ‘pause’ London protests

Extinction Rebellion is to “pause” the protests that have caused widespread disruption across central London for seven days.

The group said it would mark “a new phase of rebellion” to achieve “political aims”.

A total of 831 people have been arrested during the climate change protests and 28 people charged.

Hundreds of officers from other forces have been sent to London to help the Metropolitan Police.

Extinction Rebellion said it hoped to negotiate with the Mayor of London and the Met over continuing its demonstrations at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, and leaving other sites.

Farhana Yamin, from the group, said being able to “pause” the protests showed it was an “organised and a long-term political force to be reckoned with”.

“Today marks a transition from week one, which focused on actions that were vision-holding but also caused mass disruption across many dimensions,” she said.

“Week two marks a new phase of rebellion focused on negotiations where the focus will shift to our actual political demands.”

Oxford Circus has reopened to traffic after officers cleared protesters but they continue to occupy Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said she had never experienced anything like it in her career.

She said: “I’ve been a police officer for 36 years – I have never known an operation, a single operation, in which over 700 people have been arrested.”

Ms Dick added she was grateful for the help from hundreds of police officers drafted in from several forces, including the neighbouring City of London Police.

Officers from Kent, Sussex, Essex and Hampshire and Greater Manchester have also been sent.

Police have been trying to confine the protests to Marble Arch but demonstrators have ignored the threat of arrest and continued to block roads across the capital.

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg is expected to address Extinction Rebellion members at Marble Arch later ahead of meeting senior British politicians next week.

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