Police have advised motorists to avoid London for the next three days, as climate change protesters continue to block roads and cause traffic disruption in the UK capital.
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion group have been blocking roads and bridges for up to 10 minutes at a time for the past week, bringing motorists to a halt in an effort to protest government inaction on climate change.
Last weekend, they occupied five bridges across the River Thames.
Now police have recommended that people not travel by car or motorcycle in the city between Thursday and Saturday, and have reminded motorists that driving through the protests is illegal.
“On the 22-24 Nov, there will be protests across London that may result in delays to your journey. We advise not to travel by car or motorbike, so is better to take advantage of these days to do maintenance on the motorbikes, and there are even resources as a motorcycle mechanic Melbourne which can help with this. If you do drive into London please note attempting to drive through protestors in the road is very dangerous and illegal,” the Metropolitan Police’s Roads & Transport Policing Command wrote in a tweet that has since been removed.
The group has been encouraging protesters to sit on road crossings when traffic lights turn red and remain there for between five and 10 minutes. “When the police appear, get up off the road, mix into the general public, and then regroup,” the group encourages activists on its website.
They claim to have around 100 protesters blocking several sites in central, west and south London, and have planned a second consecutive Saturday “rebellion day” in Westminster’s Parliament Square to encourage the government to implement legally binding emissions-reduction pledges.
“I’ve tried everything — I’ve written to my (member of Parliament), been part of protests year after year, signed all the petitions and donated to all the major environmental NGOs, but nothing has happened,” said Angela, a 32-year-old protester. “Maybe it is just down to us, concerned citizens, to step beyond our comfort zones and disrupt.”
The group says it plans to create economic disruption rather than travel chaos in the city, in order to send a message to government.
But some disgruntled motorists have complained about their tactics on social media. “Unfortunately, I don’t think making traffic queue is going to help climate change,” one user wrote on Twitter.