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  • A protester is detained during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Whitehall in London, Britain, October 8, 2019.

    A protester is detained during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration at Whitehall in London, Britain, October 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 October 2019

“This is clearly non-violent, it is human, we are not here with guns, we are here as human beings,” protester Francoise Loiseau said in Paris.

London police on Tuesday arrested over 500 Extinction Rebellion (XR) peaceful environmental activists who were performing civil disobedience to push for more to be done to protect the environment.

GALLERY:
Over 500 Extinction Rebellion Activists Arrested in London

Dutch police stepped in to arrest more than 100 climate activists blocking a street in front of the country’s national museum and there were similar protests in Austria, Australia, France, Spain and New Zealand.

“SORRY that we blocked the road, but this is an emergency,” declared placards held by activists in Amsterdam.

In New York’s financial district, protesters spattered the Wall Street Bull and themselves with fake blood and lay prone around the sculpture to evoke their fears of a deadly environmental catastrophe.

Police chiefs said last week they would mobilize thousands of officers to handle the protests in London and that anyone who broke the law, even as part of non-violent civil disobedience, would be arrested.

On Saturday, officers used a battering ram to enter a building in south London where activists had been storing materials to use during the protests. Eight people were arrested during the raid.

In Berlin, police blocked the five avenues that converge on the roundabout to stop cars and buses reaching the demonstration, as this would have resulted in traffic chaos during rush hour.

By midday, the protest had swelled to 4,000 people, a policeman said, and a second main roundabout was also blocked by activists sitting in the middle of the road.

Police began removing chanting protesters from Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz later in the day after they had occupied the central artery for much of the day, singing, making speeches and fashioning a makeshift camp out of salvaged armchairs and tents.

Over the lasts two weeks, XR demonstrations have been taking place in several cities in Ireland, Germany, Austria, Australia, France and New Zealand as it lobbies politicians to go further in cutting carbon emissions.

The protests are the latest stage in a global campaign for tougher and swifter steps against climate change coordinated by the group, which rose to prominence in April when it snarled traffic in central London for 11 days.

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