13 December 2019

Dozens arrested at Extinction Rebellion climate protests

KONFRONTASI-Dozens of activists were arrested as Extinction Rebellion protesters kicked off a fortnight of peaceful civil disobedience worldwide demanding governments take urgent action on climate change.

Activists blocked roads, bridges and squares all over London's government district of Westminster on Monday. 

By 12.30pm local time (1130 GMT), 135 people were arrested in the British capital, the Metropolitan Police said in a tweet. 

Hundreds joined a sit-in on busy inner Sydney road in Australia, which police brought to an end by dragging away demonstrators and charging 30 people. 

A small group of activists also locked themselves to a bridge in Brisbane, where police said they arrested and charged seven people.

Meanwhile, demonstrators shut down part of Wellington, New Zealand's capital, by chaining themselves to a bright pink car. Police said 30 people were arrested later in the day but none were charged.

'Burn capitalism, not petrol'

They were the start of planned disruptions in 60 cities around the world over the next two weeks by protest group Extinction Rebellion, which is warning of a looming environmental "apocalypse".

In the German capital Berlin, about 1,000 people blocked the Grosser Stern, a traffic circle in the middle of the city's Tiergarten park dominated by the landmark Victory Column, in a protest that started in the early hours.

Members of Extinction Rebellion also set up a camp outside Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, reflecting dissatisfaction with a climate policy package drawn up last month by her government.

In the Netherlands, hundreds of demonstrators chanting "rebellion!" blocked traffic in downtown Amsterdam, defying a ban by police who said they would make arrests to prevent them from disrupting commuters.

'No Planet B'

Extinction Rebellion was established last year in the United Kingdom by academics and has become one of the world's fastest-growing environmental movements.

Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss, and be led by new "citizens' assemblies" on climate and ecological justice.

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