Extinction Rebellion spray themselves with fake blood trying to cover Treasury
3 October 2019, 10:37 | Updated: 3 October 2019, 16:27
Climate change group Extinction Rebellion have sprayed the Government Treasury building in Whitehall with 1,800 litres of fake blood.
Metropolitan Police confirmed they have arrested eight of the protesters, including an 83-year-old man.
A spokesperson said: "A total of eight people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage; five men aged between 34 and 83, and three women aged between 34 and 60."
Protesters used an out-of-commission fire engine to drench the front of the building in red liquid and also erected a banner reading "Stop funding climate death".
But the stunt didn't entirely go to plan after activists lost control of the water pipe - causing the "blood" to spray in the activist's faces.
The group claims the "blood" is made from water coloured with food dye and is washable.
Extinction Rebellion live streamed the event and a demonstrator could be heard saying: "This is symbolic to show the government that the UK has blood on their hands."
It added the action is part of the build up towards the International Rebellion which begins in 4 days time in more than 60 cities around the world.
A spokesman for the group said: "It is time to imagine a future where humans no longer cause irreparable harm to themselves and their surroundings, but recognise and support the interconnectedness of life in its broadest sense."
One of the activists, named as Ben, "The Treasury has been frustrating efforts by other government departments to take action against climate change because it cares only about economic growth.
"It doesn’t see that eternal economic growth leads to climate death. The red symbolises the people dying now in the global south and also the people who are going to start dying from climate change all around the world if we do nothing."
Among the activists is 83-year-old Phil Kingston, a grandfather-of-four who has been arrested six times with Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion.
When asked how long he was prepared to stand in protest, he said: "No comment", and later told reporters present he was one of the men to be arrested.
The other activists are retired GP, Diana Warner, 60; musician, Cathy Eastburn, 52; Forest School Leader, Árainn Hawker, 48; Mark Ovland, 36, ex-Buddhist teacher, and Liam Norton, 34, electrician from South London.
Mr Kingston said: “I fight with all my being for my four grandchildren in this situation of existential danger. And I am a Christian who cares for the Earth as God’s Creation; and for the world’s poorest peoples whose experience of injustice draws a special love from God.
“I come to the Treasury to challenge these practices and to demand radical change in them. In particular the proposal of the Climate Change Committee that UKEF works towards zero emissions by 2050 is far too late.
"Greta Thunberg stated to the United Nations on 23rd September that the CO2 budget for giving a 67% chance of staying within 1.5 degrees C will be entirely gone by 2028 at current emissions levels.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said he supports what the activists are trying to achieve, but criticised them for taking valuable time away from police.
He said: "My direct message to those involved in Extinction Rebellion is yes, we do face a climate change emergency. Yes, governments - including the Mayors and local government - need to take much bolder action.
"But the way you're going about trying to win over public opinion, the way you're going about trying to persuade people in positions of power to change people's policies I don't think is effective when you commit criminal damage and cause the disruption that you are causing.
"Police officers work incredibly hard. They are working 12-hour shifts.
"People are worried about safety in their community and I'm having to tell the Commissioner you've got to do what you think is best and the Commissioner is diverting police away from neighbourhoods to parts of London to police the protests you are conducting."