ENVIRONMENTAL activists were arrested today as hundreds of people declared rebellion against the British government for “criminal” climate inaction.
Campaigners occupied the roads, locking themselves together outside Parliament in central London as an act of peaceful civil disobedience.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that 15 arrests were made for obstructing the highway as officers removed protesters locked onto the ground.
Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Gail Bradbrook said: “The time to stand up for our world, the ecosystem in which we all live, has come.
“It is clear that we need to have the courage to put authentic and real pressure on the government to take action to solve the ecological crisis, otherwise what future do we have?
“The IPCC fails us, our government fails us, the NGOs have failed us. Business as usual is no longer an option.”
She added that they were ready for the risk of arrests as a sacrifice made with “great consideration.”
Extinction Rebellion’s Stuart Basden said they did not take the step of disrupting the lives of Londoners lightly.
“However, we have to raise the alert,” he added.
“We feel deeply that, if we come together as ordinary people and communities in the limited time we have available to affect change, we can face this crisis together.”
The action coincided with a WWF revelation that humanity has wiped out 60 per cent of the world’s wildlife population and call for decision makers to make the right choices for “humanity and nature.”
Campaigners say they took radical action as a “duty to reclaim democracy” because the British government’s failure to act is “nothing less than criminal negligence.”
Labour shadow treasury minister for sustainable economics Clive Lewis said: “Peaceful civil disobedience is a proud tradition.
“But the next Labour government is going to change the law so that the ones who go to jail in the future are the ones responsible for destroying the environment, not the ones protecting it.”
Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old currently breaking Swedish law by refusing to go to school due to inaction on the climate, also attended the protest.
She said: “You can’t solve the world by playing by the rules because the rules have to be changed. It is time for us to rebel.”
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas told the crowd she was denied the right to talk about climate change in Parliament, adding the protesters looked “far more like democracy” than anything inside.
“The Chancellor managed to speak for over an hour in the Budget without mentioning climate change once,” she said.
“Time and time again this government chooses fossil fuels over the climate. This is the only way we will get those in Parliament to listen.”
Demands by the campaigners include that the government tells the truth about the ecological emergency and enacts legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025.