London police begin clearing climate protests

London (AFP) –


British police on Tuesday began clearing central London streets blocked by climate protests, cutting demonstrators out of their tents and restricting them to tourist landmark Trafalgar Square.

A total of 471 people were arrested in the British capital, where the Extinction Rebellion movement was born last year, since structures were erected near parliament on Monday.

After receiving criticism for not doing enough to tackle protests on Monday, Scotland Yard began using its powers under public order legislation to restrict rallies.

"Serious disruption was being caused to communities in London," the force said, adding that any assembly linked to the "Autumn Uprising" had to go to Trafalgar Square.

Officers confronted those who refused to move, cutting them out of their tents and warning anyone protesting outside the official area would be arrested.

"They have trashed some of the tents. But the mood is upbeat," one female protester told AFP.

Some protested against the police's actions by lying in the road, contributing to Tuesday's 152 arrest tally.

Demonstrations occurred in 60 cities around the world this week, with thousands taking to the streets of New Delhi, Cape Town, Paris, Vienna, Madrid, and Buenos Aires.

Extinction Rebellion is demanding that governments drastically cut carbon emissions.

They are backed by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager whose searing UN address in September made international headlines, and by academics studying the rising temperatures and sea levels.

The movement is partially credited with pushing the UK government in June to become the first in the Europe Union to commit itself to a net-zero target for harmful emissions by 2050.

Extinction Rebellion is demanding governments reach that target by 2025, as well as holding "citizens assemblies" to decide on policies.