Five climate change protesters arrested as Britain braces for weekend of chaos

One man is led away outside King’s College, in London – i-Images Picture Agency

Police have moved in to arrest climate change protesters who are illegaly blocking Lambeth bridge after a day of global action, believed to be the largest climate protest in history.

So far, five protesters have been arrested for breaching public order conditions that restrict the gathering to the Millbank area.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “Lambeth Bridge has been occupied by protestors. You are free to leave and we encourage you to do so, because this assembly is in breach of the S14 conditions and you are liable to arrest.” 

The large group was forced off the bridge by police who arrived in vans from Westminster.

They were then escorted along Lambeth Road and forced to disperse.

One police insider said that it was “massively peaceful, considering the number of people attending.

Hundreds of thousands of people led by school children took part in protests across the UK, calling for urgent action to tackle climate change.

Children and students walked out of lessons and lectures and were joined by parents, campaigners and workers as part of global climate strikes which look set to be the largest environmental protests in history once the figures are confirmed.

Organisers claim that around 100,000 people took part in a rally in central London, with more than 20,000 thought to have marched in Edinburgh and 10,000 in Brighton as crowds flocked on to the streets around the UK.

In London, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the youngsters in the crowd that “you and a whole generation have brought the issue centre stage and I am absolutely delighted about that”.

He criticised US President Donald Trump for his failure to act on climate change and had a message for Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro that he wanted to work with him to preserve and protect the Amazon rainforest.

Protesters are beginning to gather ahead of the UK Student Climate Network’s Global Climate Strike at Millbank in London Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Green Party politician Caroline Lucas was also present and told the PA news agency: “It feels like there is a real uprising. It feels like there is a real sense from young people in particular that they simply won’t wait any longer.

“It is their future that is at stake and our generation, my generation is responsible for not having done nearly enough to address that.

“They have enormous moral authority when they tell us that.”

Some of Friday’s first protests were held in Australia, where an estimated 300,000 people gathered at more than 100 rallies calling for action to guard against climate change, with further demonstrations held across parts of Asia.

Protesters joining the climate strikes in Britain enjoyed a day of unseasonably warm weather as they called on businesses and politicians to cut emissions.

Children and young people across the country walked out of lessons and lectures, with thousands of workers joining them.

Police arrest a protester after issuing a section 14 notice at an Extinction Rebellion gathering Credit: Thomas Bowles

In Westminster, the protests started at 11am, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set to address crowds this afternoon.

But the Department for Education has echoed teachers unions in warning that whilst they “encourage constructive engagement” it shouldn’t “come at the expense of our children’s education or excessive disruption”. 

Teachers were told that if they encouraged students to attend or fail to record absences they put themselves at risk of legal or disciplinary action. ” data-reactid=”66″>Teachers were told that if they encouraged students to attend or fail to record absences they put themselves at risk of legal or disciplinary action. 

Many teachers appeared to ignore the warnings.

The protests are part of a snowballing movement sparked by teenage activist Greta Thunberg’s school strikes outside the Swedish parliament.

What is happening in Britain today?

The UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) says more than 200 events are taking place across the UK, with – for the first time – adults being encouraged to join the youngsters as they strike.

Among the many trade unions throwing their weight behind the strikes are the TUC Congress, the University and College Union and Unite.

Some businesses are actively supporting their workers to take action, with outdoor clothing company Patagonia closing stores and offices globally, and taking out adverts to support the strikers.

The Co-operative Bank has also teamed up with Unite to support its workforce to take part in the climate strikes.

But business, energy and clean growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he could not endorse children leaving school to take part.

Business, energy and clean growth minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he could not endorse children leaving school to take part Credit: Victoria Jones/PA 

He told BBC Breakfast on Friday that he supports the “energy and creativity” of students, but said time spent in school is “incredibly important”.

When asked if the Government is listening to the young protesters, he added: “Their voices are being heard.

“What I do support is their energy, their creativity, and the fact that they have completely mastered these issues and take them very seriously.

“I am not going to endorse people leaving school because I think education, time spent in school, is incredibly important.”

Why have people been arrested?

The Met police has issued strict instructions that restricts protests to a small area of Westminster.

In order to impose this condition, the Met required evidence that the procession may result in serious disruption to communities in London. Latest intelligence reports suggest that such serious disruption is an objective of this protest and is likely to occur, and as such, conditions have been imposed.

The conditions imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 stipulate that:

– Any assembly by organisers, members, participants, associates, supporters and sympathisers of “Global Climate Strike” (whether or not they are members of this group) must take place in Millbank and Abingdon Street London, SW1P, from the stage area on South of Dean Stanley Street, to the junction of Abingdon Street with Parliament Square.

– Assembly cannot take place in any other part of London.

– Any assembly must conclude at 15:30hrs on Friday, 20 September.

Arrests have been made this morning and this afternoon at the protests Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire