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  • A climate change activist demonstrates during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf DLR station in London, Britain April 17, 2019.

    A climate change activist demonstrates during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf DLR station in London, Britain April 17, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 April 2019

A man and a woman climbed on top of public transport in London's Canary Wharf financial district while another activist glued himself to a train.

In the third day of protests in London two environmental activists climbed onto the roof of a subway train in the Canary Wharf financial district in a collective effort to force Britain to take more radical measures to avert climate change.

Thousands Block London Roads to Demand Action on Climate Change

On Wednesday, a man dressed in a dark suit and a woman wearing a black jacket stood on the roof of a train at the Docklands Light Railway station (DLR) in the financial district, holding a banner that read: "Climate Emergency. Act Now."

Some passengers shouted at the pair to get down while police headed for the scene. Another activist glued himself to one of the trains.

Transport for London said there were minor delays on a branch of DLR services "due to a customer incident" at Canary Wharf. British Transport Police said they had arrested one man on suspicion of obstructing the railway.

Nearly 300 climate change activists have been arrested so far this week after campaigners blocked some of the capital's most iconic locations, many camping in tents on the streets.

Police are seen as climate change activists demonstrate during the Extinction Rebellion protest, at Canary Wharf DLR station in London​. | Source: Reuters

The demonstrations and direct actions lead by Extinction Rebellion  climate change group has ratcheted up in recent weeks, blocking Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge, and smashing a door at the Royal Dutch Shell oil company building. They shocked UK lawmakers by staging a semi-nude protest at the parliament.

The group advocates non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to reduce carbon emissions and avert what it says is a global climate crisis that will bring starvation, floods, wildfires and social collapse. "We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction bigger and faster than the one that killed the dinosaurs," they say over Facebook. 

Extinction Rebellion said this direct action was important to bring about change. 

"As with a labor strike, economic disruption is key in forcing the government to come to the table and negotiate our demands," they said on their website.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan had urged protesters to avoid targeting the city's public transit system.

"It is absolutely crucial to get more people using public transport, as well as walking and cycling, if we are to tackle this climate emergency," Khan said.

A climate change activist demonstrates during the Extinction Rebellion protest by super-gluing himself to a train. | Source: Reuters

The protests have cost over 12 million pounds (US$16 million) to businesses in London's West End, famous for its theaters and shops that have seen up to a 25 percent drop in sales and foot traffic.

"This additional pressure is deeply damaging to London’s economy and reputation," said Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company, which represents businesses in the area.

Police said they expected the demonstrations to continue in the next few weeks and promised to take action if necessary.

"We need to ensure we are striking the right balance between allowing the right to a peaceful protest, while ensuring disruption to communities is kept to a minimum," Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said Tuesday.

The group is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and to create a citizen's assembly of members of the public to lead on decisions to address climate change.

In 2017, total United Kingdom greenhouse gas emissions were 43 percent lower than in 1990 and 2.6 percent lower than 2016, according to government statistics.

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