Tube chaos expected on Thursday as Extinction Rebellion expand protests

15 October 2019, 18:26

More than 1000 protestors have been arrested so far
More than 1000 protestors have been arrested so far. Picture: PA
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

Extinction Rebellion protestors are planning to take their protests further and disrupt the London tube network.

The environmental activist group has announced it is going to disrupt the tube service on Thursday and has warned workers "to not intervene".

On their website, the group wrote directly to London underground staff, saying: "On 17 October, several XR affinity groups (autonomous civil disobedience groups) are planning to non-violently disrupt Tube services to highlight the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

"We sincerely apologise to all those who may be affected as a consequence of this disruption.

"In any other circumstances these groups would never dream of disrupting the Tube but this is an emergency."

Extinction Rebellion said it hoped the action would force the Government to negotiate its demands.

They also warned disruption would rapidly increase the longer protests needed to continue.

The statement also claimed the police had been told about the action in order to ensure it was carried out peacefully.

The group added: "The actions have been designed to be as safe as possible for both participants, passengers and workers.

"Participants will peacefully break the law in order to stop the Tube and then will wait to be arrested.’

Protestors are planning two weeks of tube disruption
Protestors are planning two weeks of tube disruption. Picture: PA

A Transport for London spokesperson said: "We are aware that there are demonstrations planned to take place in the capital, which could cause disruption to the transport network.

"We’re working closely with the police to manage the impact on London’s transport network.

"We would encourage people to allow plenty of time for their journeys and check before they travel.’

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: "We will be stepping up resources across the London Underground network this week in response to the potential Extinction Rebellion protest activity on Thursday 17 October.

"Passengers can expect to see a high number of additional officers on duty across the network, and we will be working closely with our colleagues at Transport for London, City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

"We also remain hopeful that we will be able to engage with Extinction Rebellion before the planned activity on Thursday, so we can reiterate the serious dangers of attempting to bring Underground trains to a halt above or below ground.

"Our highly visible patrols are there to facilitate peaceful protest, but we will not tolerate any sort of activity which disrupts the journeys of the millions of Londoners using the Underground who rely on using the network every day.

"We will take firm and robust action to ensure any offenders who choose to ignore this advice will be arrested and prosecuted – and in the case of several people who have chosen to disrupt the railway this year – receive custodial sentences.

"As always, the travelling public are our eyes and ears and I’d encourage anyone that who does see anything suspicious to contact us as soon as possible by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.’

Protestors have caused disruption at the Department for Transport and near the MI5 building
Protestors have caused disruption at the Department for Transport and near the MI5 building. Picture: PA

The protests continued on Tuesday, with action at the Department of Transport and near the MI5 building.A protestors has also caused a lockdown around parliament after a protestor scaled the gates of Westminster.

On Tuesday morning police confirmed they had made 1457 arrests during protests which have closed down parts of the capital.

One of the group's co-founders, Gail Bradbrook, who climbed on top of the entrance of the building in central London and "lightly" hit the glass with a hammer, said she was taking action for trees threatened by HS2.

She said: "I do this in fierce love of the 108 ancient woodlands threatened by HS2, this climate crime of a project.

"Imagine the good we could do with HS2's anticipated cost to rapidly accelerate towards our demands to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

"If the Government is serious about plans to meet the net zero target they need to stop funding destructive projects such as HS2 and airport expansions."

Mrs Bradbrook was later arrested. An image from the scene showed Dr Bradbrook standing on a cherry picker outside the building.

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