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Thousands of environmental activists paralyse parts of London

LONDON Thousands of environmental activists paralysed parts of central London yesterday by blocking Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge in a bid to force the government to do more to tackle climate change.

Under sunny skies, activists sang songs or held signs that read "There is no Planet B" and "Extinction is forever" at some of the capital's most iconic locations. Roadblocks will continue night and day at each site and the demonstrators say the protests could last at least a week.

The protests are being led by the British climate group Extinction Rebellion and will involve demonstrations in 33 countries around the world over the coming days.

"I realised that signing petitions and writing letters was not going to be enough. Real action is needed," said Ms Diana McCann, 66, a retired wine trader from south London, holding a banner in a traffic-free road. "It's like a world war. We have to go on to a war footing."

Extinction Rebellion, which generated headlines with a semi-nude protest in the House of Commons earlier this month, has warned its members that some of them could be arrested for taking part in non-violent civil disobedience.

The protest had a festive atmosphere with families in attendance and a low police presence.

The group is demanding the government declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and create a citizen's assembly of members of the public to lead on decisions to address climate change.

It wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday outlining their demands and asking for face-to-face talks. - REUTERS

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