Environmental activists are gearing up for protests in London over the next two weeks, including targeting the capital’s financial district, police warned on Friday.
London’s Metropolitan police force fears there will be disruption across the capital and has outlined plans to minimise disruption.
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a protest group demanding action on climate change and is known for high profile campaigns, such as blocking the capital’s Oxford Street shopping area and bringing parts of central London to a standstill in 2019. It is mobilising around Europe, with similar protests being held in Germany on Friday.
The UK hosts the Cop26 environmental summit in November and is pushing for countries to increase efforts to reach carbon net zero targets.
On Friday, Greta Thunberg accused the UK of greenwashing its true environmental footprint by not including key data in its statistics.
Extinction Rebellion accuses financial firms of helping to fuel climate change.
“Extinction Rebellion’s intention is to once again cause significant disruption to London and to London’s communities through acts of civil disobedience,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist.
“Like everyone else, Extinction Rebellion have the right to assemble and the right to protest. However these rights are qualified and are to be balanced against the rights of others.
“They do not have the right to cause serious disruption to London’s communities and prevent them going about their lawful business,” he said.
Previous protests have closed roads and tube lines and diverted police officers from routine duties.
“Every police officer committed to a large demonstration is a police officer abstracted away from their local borough and community,” Mr Twist said.
Extinction Rebellion's planned “Impossible Rebellion” protests will include site occupations and marches through London's financial district.
The group said it would not be giving police specific information about its plans.
Last week a UN climate panel of the world's top atmospheric scientists warned that global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control, with deadly heatwaves, hurricanes and other extreme events likely to keep getting worse.
The Unicef index, published on Friday, found that around 1 billion children in 33 mostly African low-emission countries faced a “deadly combination” of extreme weather and existing issues like poverty, making them uniquely vulnerable.