London

Extinction Rebellion activists end London protests

Protesters gathered at Speakers' Corner Image copyright Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Image caption Extinction Rebellion supporters gathered at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park for a "closing ceremony"

Ten days of protests, blockades and disruption across London has come to a conclusion as Extinction Rebellion ended its action in the capital.

Hundreds of activists met in Hyde Park earlier for a "closing ceremony".

More than 1,100 people have been arrested since campaigners first blocked traffic on 15 April.

On the final day of action, protesters blocked roads, climbed on a train and glued themselves together in London's financial district.

On Thursday evening, climate change campaigners sat on the grass next to Speaker's Corner - widely considered London's home of free speech - singing and listening to musicians.

Transport for London said all roads are open around Marble Arch.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ten days of protests in London ended with a gathering in Hyde Park
Image copyright PA
Image caption Hundreds of people sat on the grass next to Speaker's Corner

Skeena Rathor, of Extinction Rebellion, welcomed the "rebels" to the ceremony and described the crowd as "beautiful beings", adding: "This is our pause ceremony.

"Welcome to the beginning of our pause."

She invited the crowd to "begin a process of reflection", adding: "Thank you for what you have done this week. It is enormous. It is beyond words."

The crowd cheered and clapped when a speaker said "the police were amazing" during the days of blockades.

Image copyright DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Protesters cleaned the roads of chalked messages as they packed up their camp at Marble Arch
Image copyright DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Musicians at Marble Arch marked the final day of action

"We will leave the physical locations but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world," event organisers said on their Facebook page.

"We would like to thank Londoners for opening their hearts and demonstrating their willingness to act on that truth.

"We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nine protesters glued themselves together in a chain to stop people entering the Treasury in Westminster

Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to "tell the truth" about the scale of the climate crisis. It wants the UK to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and a Citizens' Assembly set up to oversee the changes needed to achieve this.

On Thursday, 26 people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass outside the Stock Exchange and on Fleet Street, bringing the total number of arrests up to 1,130 since the protests began on 15 April, the Met Police said.

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Media captionProtesters blocked the London Stock Exchange and climbed on top of a Docklands Light Railway train

Four people stood on top of a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train while another glued herself to a train.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway, the British Transport Police said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Fleet Street was blocked by activists as part of a focus on the city's financial district
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Four people climbed on an DLR train at Canary Wharf

Meanwhile, Dame Emma Thompson, who joined the activists on Saturday, has defended flying from Los Angeles to London to take part.

The actress said it was "very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying" but she was "in the very fortunate position of being able to offset my carbon footprint".

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More than 10,000 police officers have been deployed during the action.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the protests had been a "huge challenge for our over-stretched and under-resourced Metropolitan Police".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dame Emma Thompson joined the protests on Saturday
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Traffic was blocked during short protests opposite the Bank of England

The Met said on Wednesday it had imposed new conditions under the Public Order Act on the protest area in Marble Arch, making it a criminal offence to protest outside a designated area or incite others to protest outside of it.

The conditions will remain in force until Saturday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Phil Kingston, 83, was among those taken to custody over the protest at Canary Wharf

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