Overstretched police in London admit they are spending less time with victims of real crime as it takes hours to arrest hundreds of attention-seeking eco protestors holding raves, breastfeeding in the street and waving around giant octopuses.
The Government today took the extraordinary step of calling in 500 officers from 43 other police forces in England and Wales as they try to round up the Extinction Rebellion mob bringing chaos to the centre of the capital.
The move will leave already short-staffed forces in smaller towns struggling as their officers are bused up to London to deal with the planned two-week ‘shutdown’ targeting landmarks, government buildings and airports.
Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the scale of operation was having a big impact on policing in other areas of the capital.
He said: ‘We haven’t stopped policing, we never will, but it does mean that some activities beyond the normal responses are affected.
‘We cannot spent the amount of time with victims we would normally because we have to make sure we are dealing with the protests. We are not at the level we would want to be… and police officers should be working in their communities.’
More than 800 protesters have been arrested, but illegal sites in Whitehall and Horseferry Road remain closed while police spend hours dislodging the demonstrators without injuring them and sparking potential compensation claims.
Lorna Greenwood, 32, who organised the event in Westminster today, speaks to protesters as they try to block Whitehall
Police kettled a giant Extinction Rebellion octopus up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square by more than half a dozen police – at the Met asked for 500 more officers to be sent from 43 forces across England and Wales
Hundreds of mothers fed their babies as part of a giant ‘feed in’ before marching on Downing Street to demand the PM protects the future of their children
A mother breastfeeds her child ahead of the Extinction Rebellion mass ‘nurse-in’ road blockade outside the QEII Centre today
Yoga sessions at dawn today as XR tightened their grip on the centre of London – currently the world’s largest eco-camp
Extinction Rebellion protesters stretch and do yoga at the back of Downing Street this morning as police failed to make a major breakthrough
Yards away hundreds of women fed their babies outside the QEII centre, where Boris Johnson was announced as the Conservative Party leader, to ‘plead for the lives’ of their children
Police have been slow to clear the camps – including this one on Marsham Street close to the Home Office headquarters
XR to launch three-day ‘Hong Kong style’ occupation of London City Airport
Extinction Rebellion protesters have outlined their plans to shut down City Airport in east London for three days from Thursday at 9am.
The demonstrators say they want to disrupt ‘business as usual’ at the airport and target continued Government support for airport expansion.
Protests will include a Hong Kong-style occupation of the terminal building, with people lying, sitting and gluing themselves in front of the departure and arrivals gates.
If they are unable to occupy the airport, they say they will blockade it from the outside, occupying the DLR station and the access road.
A London City Airport spokesman said: ‘We continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police to prepare for the threat of Extinction Rebellion protests. Our shared priority is the safe operation of the airport and to minimise disruption for passengers using the airport over the coming days.
‘All passengers travelling for the remainder of this week will be required to show their boarding pass to access the terminal. We’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience’.
Today the National Police Coordination Centre revealed a rare ‘mutual aid’ request has been sent to 43 police forces for 500 officers to be deployed over the next fortnight.
A large number of officers from Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Hampshire have already been rushed into the capital this morning.
‘Mutual aid’ is often used to bring in more police in the event of a large-scale terrorist attack, such as the Manchester Arena suicide bombing in 2017.
DAC Taylor told Talk Radio: ‘It’s a really complex operation for us. We’re using every piece of legislation currently available to us to deal with the unlawful activity that we’re encountering.
‘But it takes time – when people go limp on arrest, it takes at least four officers to take them away.
‘They have to be processed through custody – that takes additional time. But also, we are clearing a lot of tents.
‘We have cleared 80 tonnes worth of equipment to date. That’s all in storage, because it’s all evidence of offences, so that’s all being stored at our property stores.’
Today the activists began the day with a giant yoga session before a mass ‘nurse-in’ by breastfeeding and bottlefeeding mothers who marched from Westminster Abbey to Downing Street.
And in one extraordinary seen up to ten police officers kettled in a giant pink puppet octopus and moved it up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, where last night, in the streets under Nelson’s Column, thousands of XR supporters partied into the night at a gig headlined by dance band Orbital.
Police arrest Britain’s oldest Extinction Rebellion activist, 91 for protesting outside Cabinet Office
Britain’s oldest Extinction Rebellion activist was arrested by police today after protesting outside the Cabinet Office in Westminster.
John Lynes, 91, of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, was cheered as he hobbled towards a police van with a walking stick while being surrounded by officers.
Mr Lynes is a veteran protester who has been arrested at least 25 times and was even jailed for continually cutting the fences of a US army base in the 1990s.
As he was led away today, others shouted ‘you’re a legend, good for you’, ‘you’re wonderful’ and ‘you’re brilliant’. They also chanted: ‘We love you, we love you.’
Police took care to take Mr Lynes into the van slowly, with one officer heard telling him: ‘John, if you need any more support, just let me know, yeah.’
Asked how he was feeling, Mr Lynes – who claims to have been the first person arrested for campaigning against the Falklands War in 1982 – replied: ‘Not too bad.’
John Lynes, 91, of St Leonards-on-Sea, was cheered as he hobbled towards a police van with a walking stick in Westminster today
He is already due to appear at Folkestone Magistrates Court in Kent on October 23 after being charged with a public order offence after a protest in Dover.
Mr Lynes was pictured calming sipping tea while being detained last month at the demonstration which tried to shut the Port of Dover.
He has previously said his old age made it ‘easier’ to protest because he could go to prison unlike working people who have might children and a mortgage.
Police took Mr Lynes into the van slowly, with one officer heard telling him: ‘John, if you need any more support, just let me know, yeah’
Mr Lynes, who was 11 when the Second World War began in 1939, has previously claiming that observing climate change is worse than living through the conflict.
He previously said: ‘Winston Churchill said ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’. ‘Now our politicians are not saying that at all.
‘They aren’t acting with anything like the sort of urgency that they acted with when it was necessary to go around killing people.’
Police arrest a protester who was glued to to others next to the Women of World War Two memorial on Whitehall today
Protesters on Birdcage Walk, outside the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, during the third day of the protest today
Police on Birdcage Walk as they attempt to remove a structure on the third day of the Extinction Rebellion protest today
The main XR camp has been set up in St James Park with people pitching tents at the rear of Treasury building by Horseguard’s Parade
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove talks to an Extinction Rebellion protester and takes a leaflet at the back of Downing Street today
Activists were free to rave at a giant Orbital gig and party in Trafalgar Square last night (pictured) – ignoring a warning from police that they faced arrest
Extinction Rebellion have actually increased the spread of their protest overnight – despite police pledging to force them back to Trafalgar Square
XR appear to want to fill London’s police cells so there is nowhere for the Met to put all the people they plan to arrest over the coming fortnight
Extinction Rebellion’s growing territory came despite Scotland Yard’s warning that they would arrest anyone not in the pedestrianised area of Trafalgar Square by the end of yesterday.
The hundreds of tents pitched all along Whitehall, past Downing Street and around Parliament Square – and a central camp in St James Park – still remain this morning where minister Michael Gove spoke to protesters.
Boris Johnson’s father Stanley says he would proudly ‘wear ‘unco-operative crusty’ badge’
Stanley Johnson joined the EX protests under Nelson’s Column and told MailOnline: ‘I would wear a badge with ‘uncooperative crusty’ on it’ – a dig at his son’s description of the activists
Boris Johnson’s father has arrived in Trafalgar Square to support the Extinction Rebellion activists his son has branded ‘uncooperative crusties’ – saying he considers it a badge of honour.
The Prime Minister has called on the thousands of eco-warriors to abandon their ‘hemp-smelling bivouacs’ and stop blocking roads as police failed to smash their illegal eco-village in central London.
But today Mr Johnson sr joined them under Nelson’s Column and told MailOnline: ‘I would wear a badge with ‘uncooperative crusty’ on it’.
He also said he would be prepared to sit down and protest with them for the next fortnight but added: ‘I won’t be able to do that today as I have a lunch appointment’.
Hundreds of women fed their babies outside the QEII centre, where Boris Johnson was announced as the Conservative Party leader, to ‘plead for the lives’ of their children.
Lorna Greenwood, 32, who organised the event, said: ‘We’re bringing the youngest lives who will be affected by the climate crisis to the heart of Westminster.’
A procession of police-escorted buggies made its way down Whitehall, as hundreds of mothers headed to Downing Street to continue their breastfeeding protest.
The parade was momentarily stopped by officers at the end of the street, who refused to allow the prams through, creating a standoff between police and parents.
But the rows of mothers eventually settled next to the Cenotaph, just yards from Number 10, to breast and bottle-feed their children, eliciting an emotional response from onlookers.
One mother, Anna Warrington, 36, arrived to feed her nine-month-old twins, Mathilda and Aubrey, who she carried in a double sling.
Ms Warrington, a doctor from London, said: ‘Women like me with little babies have come along to highlight the crisis the planet is in, that our children have to live through.
‘In 50 years our children are going to inherit a planet that is so different. They can’t have the lives and the childhood that I had.’
Scotland Yard has been accused of ‘standing around the edges’ as up to 30,000 people flooded central London – making around 800 arrests in the past two days.
XR members have also taken a vow to refuse bail in bid to fill London’s 700 police cells – with 5,000 people said to have pledged to be arrested.
Elderly protesters were arrested outside Downing Street on Wednesday morning, as the Extinction Rebellion protests entered their third day.
Police speak to two protesters during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in Westminster today
A pair of protesters who have glued themselves to each other and the road, on Birdcage Walk, in Westminster today
Police speak to a man who has handcuffed himself at an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest in Westminster today
Police led and carried people out of the main road in Whitehall, while onlookers sang and shouted ‘we love you’.
Mums hold XR ‘feed-in’ outside Parliament
Mothers staged a mass breastfeeding near Parliament Square today as the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests entered their third day.
Anna, who was feeding her six-week-old baby, said: ‘I’m here because I need to protect her future. I need to do everything I can. I’m frightened, I don’t know what’s going to happen.
‘It really brought it home to me when my older daughter when I was pregnant asked me what was going to happen when she had a baby and I couldn’t answer her, I don’t know. And I want to do everything I can to ensure she has a future.’
Anna added that she has stopped flying, her partner took a train to Geneva instead of flying recently and has cut out almost all meat from her diet. She added: ‘It can’t be a negative, the steps that we’re taking.’
She was among hundreds of women who fed their babies outside the QEII centre, where Boris Johnson was announced as the Conservative Party leader, to ‘plead for the lives’ of their children.
Last night it emerged XR is raking in £40,000-a-day in donations during the protests that have paralysed London, as the Met has been forced to admit they have been overwhelme.
The group’s head of finance, former banker Andrew Medhurst, said £125,000 had been raised after police raided its warehouse in south London and seized equipment, The Times reported.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Metropolitan Police should be taking ‘more robust action’ against demonstrators who have effectively taken over the streets surrounding Parliament.
Some glued themselves to the Department for Transport building yesterday and to a lorry outside the Home Office in their ‘direct action’ against what they say is the Government’s failure to take climate change seriously.
Scotland Yard’s attempts to reopen two miles of streets around Parliament failed – hours after warning they would arrest anyone who had not moved to the pedestrianised area of Trafalgar Square around its fountains.
Instead Extinction Rebellion were able to set up a ‘village’ on the roads under Nelson’s Column with its own improvised cycle lane, food stalls, community kitchen and a ‘well-being sanctuary’ for tired or stressed environmentalists as well as an extraordinary outdoor rave where people spent hours ‘dancing their feelings’.
A group have also placed 800 potted trees outside Parliament as they called on Boris Johnson to plant billions more across the UK.
And a new plot to shut down London City Airport for up to three days from 9am on Thursday by occupying the terminal emerged.
Over 100 members of the group are planning to attend City Airport, claiming that the plan is to do a ‘Hong Kong’ style occupation of the terminal building, which will involve demonstrators sitting and lying in front of the departure and arrival gates.
As well as this organisers have been communicating with protesters throughout the day, advising them of the sites which remain occupied and encouraging them to ‘keep going’. Messages exchanged between organisers and protesters also reveal that so-called ‘Plan C’ sites are to be more disruptive than others.
Activists carry a giant pink octopus as they walk along Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square, followed by police officers
Police attempt to separate a pair of protesters who have glued themselves to each other adjacent to the Women of World War Two memorial on Whitehall as their cheering supporters watch on
Close to Downing Street, officers comforted a woman who was given a silver blanket to keep warm on Whitehall today
Police have still been unable to move the XR hearse in Trafalgar Square with activists surrounding it with one person locked inside
Eco-warriors sang protests songs and also chanted ‘we love you’ as the Met continued to arrest people in the capital
Mothers with their children at the start of the Extinction Rebellion mass ‘nurse-in’ road blockade
Admitting defeat Inspector Simon Rooke, who is based in the square, said: ‘At this time we are saying ‘If you want to protest by all means protest but you need to do it here’.’
Protest organisers praise rebels for forcing police to ‘crank up their response’
Organisers behind the protests and occupations across London have praised their supporters and urged them to ‘stay clam’ through police intervention.
This afternoon rebels claimed they were holding 8 of the 12 sites across London and conversation shared between members on their private messaging board reveal just how much of the city they are occupied.
In a message to fellow rebels, organisers urged them to ‘keep going’ and shared a detailed plan of which sites were occupied most.
1: Marsham St – We Are All Crew by far the densest site with 1000 rebels! Tents being encouraged to move by the police but morning dance vibes prevail Gluing on actions occurring at 4 Government buildings within site, but police removal teams are moving fast. Laura the lorry looking threatened with police surround, 70 tents, 12 gazebos.
2: Millbank – the North are under a lot of pressure from police, looking like one roadblock about to go. Most tents packed up, arrests occurring and losing infrastructure. Brave and courageous rebels, we love you!
3: Lambeth Bridge – Big ups to the SW & Faith groups for an immense 12hr stand off yesterday with over 60 arrests. They have now merged with We Are All Crew
4: Horseguards – Love Rebellion feeling loved up 12 gazebos and 70 tents still up, seems calm, infrastructure growing! Kitchen functioning!
5: Whitehall – People’s Assembly in progress, Jacob Rees-Mogg just walked past – Strong determined vibes to continue to hold the site! Plenty of tents and rebels
6: Victoria St – The Scots are rocking it! 300+ rebels, holding site comfortably and currently underway with an action of BEIS. 60 tents, kitchen up and running
7: Trafalgar – Sound system on! Energy reviving slowly, lost some infrastructure in the night. Roadblocks good. A little thin on numbers, hoping for more to join
8: Westminster Bridge – After what we thought was a calm settling into night time, the police came back at midnight and cleared the site. Now moved to Plan B and joined Trafalgar. Huge love to the Londoners!
9: The Mall – good vibes currently after a spate of arrests this morning. 50 or so rebels, tents, marquees still up and only few police about.
10: Smithsfield – After a jolly night bedded down in Smithsfield Market, Animal Rebellion to take their 2nd site today on Horseferry Rd! Welcome!
11: St James Park – Global Justice now at St James Park, having a meeting this morning to discuss moving to a 2nd Plan B. 30 or so rebels. And toilets have arrived!
12: The Mall – XR Peace – are up and about and ready to join another site, possibly The Mall ��️
‘All in all… That’s 8/12 standing but this could already be old news
‘What we are doing is INCREDIBLE. It is HUGE. The news reports are rolling, the people are talking, the politicians are noticing. The fact the police are cranking up response means we are having a much bigger effect. Stay strong Stay calm ‘
And when asked why police had failed to stop them setting up camp despite weeks preparing he said: ‘They are very well organised and very well-funded. That’s all I can say’, according to The Times.
The climate change activists, many of whom camped close to Big Ben, are blockading government buildings and demanding what the plans are for the climate emergency.
Protesters brought chaos for commuters on Monday, closing down a large area of central London as part of coordinated actions taking place around the world.
More road closures are expected today as tens of thousands descend on the capital. Parliament Street, Great Smith Street, and Westminster and Lambeth bridges are expected to be heavily affected.
The Met Police said it had arrested 319 demonstrators by midnight last night, almost three times the 122 arrests made on the first day of similar protests last April.
Eco-activists who left London in chaos were branded ‘crusties’ and ‘importunate nose-ringed climate change protesters’ by Boris Johnson last night.
The Prime Minister told Extinction Rebellion demonstrators to ‘stop blocking the traffic’ as the city centre ground to a halt despite a massive police presence.
One climate activist has been sat locked to the top of a trailer, parked in Trafalgar Square, for more than 24 hours.
Other demonstrators counted down from 10 and cheered as the milestone was reached.
Speaking to PA from the roof of the trailer, the activist, Rob, 28, said: ‘It’s a story to tell my grandchildren.
‘It’s to show in a completely non-violent way that we’re willing to disrupt what we call order now and business as usual. To highlight what needs to be done.
‘We won’t tolerate business as usual. We mean no harm to anyone we know we’re inconveniencing.’
Rob, whose legs were both bike-locked to the roof, said that he had also earlier glued his left hand to the roof and had no idea when he would come down.
He was thrown a small tube of sun cream by a fellow activist.
A group of activists camped at Smithfield Market said they allowed traders to operate.
Animal Rebellion told the PA news agency: ‘Traders were able to operate, yes, we had agreement in place. There were tensions but overall the night went by peacefully and we made clear our message with holding the site.’
Extinction Rebellion activist Glenn Drake, 65, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, brandished a sign which read ‘Boris, sort climate change first, (then) prorogue Brexit’, at Trafalgar Square on the second day of the two-week long international protests.
Mr Drake is a Brexiteer, but said politicians should be prioritising tackling climate change before securing a deal with the EU.
He said: ‘I voted for Brexit, mainly because I don’t want to be part of a federal Europe.
‘But because of the urgency of climate change, we need to put aside Brexit.
‘No-one can agree on it, the country is 50/50 split, so let’s put that aside and let’s concentrate on the main issue, and that’s climate change.’
Police show off 80 tons of Extinction Rebellion gear including gas cylinders, toilets and even a kitchen SINK in seizure that reveals how protestors have planned for lengthy demo
Police have revealed the 80 tons worth of equipment used by Extinction Rebellion protesters to set up camps in London which they have seized.
Scotland Yard officers are clearing any sites outside the pedestrian area of Trafalgar Square after restrictions were put in place to stop disruption in the capital.
Detectives have seized so much equipment – including tents, portable toilets and generators – from the climate activists that it would fill eight ten-ton lorries.
Police have seized so much equipment from the activists that it would fill eight ten-ton lorries
A video released by the force today showed gas cylinders, toilets, a kitchen sink, pieces of wood, boxes, drums, support bars and even an angle grinder.
Talking about the seized equipment, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told Talk Radio: ‘We are clearing a lot of tents.
‘We have cleared 80 tons worth of equipment to date. That’s all in storage, because it’s all evidence of offences, so that’s all being stored at our property stores.’
Two weeks of protest action at perceived inaction on climate change by Extinction Rebellion began on Monday, occupying 12 sites in and around Westminster.
A video released by the force today showed an angle grinder (left) and pink cushions (right)
Pieces of wood and wheelie bins have also been seized from the Extinction Rebellion activists
Mr Taylor said six had already been cleared and more than 600 people arrested – more than half the number detained during a similar two-week protest in April.
A police spokesman said: ‘Officers have seized many tons of equipment and structures that protestors had intended to use to cause huge disruption.
‘We carried out proactive operations before the protest began and continue to remove equipment to ensure disruption to London is kept to a minimum.’
Frontline officers across London have been put on a 12-hour shift pattern to allow colleagues to be moved to cover the protests.
Police seize equipment from the activists in Trafalgar Square, including a kitchen sink (right)
Tents at the Extinction Rebellion camp on Marsham Street in Westminster are pictured today
Talking about the seized equipment, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told Talk Radio: ‘We have cleared 80 tons worth of equipment to date’
Another 500 officers have been brought in from forces across England and Wales as part of the established mutual aid system for major events.
Mr Taylor added: ‘The Met is a very large organisation. We will cope. But there is no doubt it is having an impact on our policing operation more widely.
‘We’ve recovered eight 10-tonne lorries’ worth of equipment from the protest groups. That is an enormous amount of property that we’ve seized.’
A Scotland Yard spokesman has been asked by MailOnline what will happen to the equipment after it is potential used in evidence.