Climate change protesters to ‘pause rebellion’ ahead of political negotiations in London

Climate change protesters who have stopped traffic in a series of peaceful demonstrations across London will “pause” their rebellion in a bid to achieve their political aims.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) have announced they are switching disruptive tactics for political negotiations as they enter a second week of campaigning to have the Government declare a climate emergency.

Farhana, the group’s political circle co-ordinator, said: “Today marks a transition from week one, which focused on actions that were vision-holding but also caused mass disruption across many dimensions (economic, cultural, emotional, social).

“Week two marks a new phase of rebellion focused on negotiations where the focus will shift to our actual political demands.”

Metropolitan Police and Extinction Rebellion demonstrators face each other on Waterloo Bridge (Victoria Jones/PA)

She added: “We want to show that XR is a cohesive long-term, global force, not some flash in the pan.

“We can do that by showing we are disciplined and cannot only start disruptive actions but also end these when needed. We are not a rabble, we are rebels with a cause!

“Being able to ‘pause’ a rebellion shows that we are organised and a long-term political force to be reckoned with.

“This will give XR leverage as we enter into negotiations with those in power to make headway on our three demands.”

The group hopes to negotiate with the Mayor of London and Metropolitan Police to agree that they be allowed to continue their protests at Old Palace Yard, in Westminster, and leave other sites.

Over the past week protesters have stopped traffic in Oxford Circus, set up camp in Marble Arch and created a temporary garden on Waterloo Bridge.

Members would commit to not disrupting other areas in exchange for Sadiq Khan speeding up the implementation of the Declaration of Climate and Ecological Emergency and considering setting up a London Citizens’ Assembly.

They will also set up a political taskforce to take forward public negotiations with the Government, warning that they are prepared to scale up action depending on how much progress is made.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators hug across a police cordon on Waterloo Bridge (Victoria Jones/PA)

The announcement comes on the seventh day of the protests, with the teenager who inspired the climate change school strikes due to join crowds later on Easter Sunday.

Greta Thunberg is expected to address Extinction Rebellion members ahead of meeting senior British politicians next week.

The 16-year-old Swedish activist has already met Pope Francis and spoken at the European Parliament.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the policing operation had been unlike any she had experienced in almost four decades of policing, and called for the “miserable” disruption to end.

Hundreds of officers from other forces have been drafted in to help quell the ongoing disruption and more than 750 peaceful activists have been arrested in less than a week.

- Press Association

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