The Met Police were accused of being ‘heavy-handed’ after finally clearing an Extinction Rebellion protest that saw demonstrators glue themselves to a bus that was blocking London Bridge.
In video footage shared online, officers can be seen grappling with protesters before forcibly moving them from an open-top vintage bus with a wooden structure attached to the rear.
The southern end of the London Bridge had been taken over by activists who marched from City Hall to occupy the junction before blocking the road with a bus.
Metropolitan Police officers then surrounded the vehicle and several streets at London Bridge to stop people entering the area – as they started arresting those involved.
It comes after the eco-activists were today accused of jumping the shark – after targeting the headquarters of beloved wildlife preservation and environment cause the WWF.
They hit the HQ in Woking at 9.30am under the explanation of it being in solidarity with indigenous groups in Tanzania, Cameroon and Kenya.
A demonstrator is arrested as Extinction Rebellion protesters use a bus to block London Bridge on August 31, 2021
Met Police officers first surround, then grapple with demonstrators inside the bus
Officers were accused of ‘heavy-handed tactics’ as they stormed the XR bus atop London Bridge on Tuesday
Extinction Rebellion activists used this green vintage open-top bus, with the sign ‘Extinction’ to block London Bridge
An XR spokesman claimed the groups were being evicted and persecuted by WWF’s conservation activities.
But the stunt was greeted by utter bemusement by most members of the public.
And MP Alexander Stafford said: ‘They’ve completely jumped the shark.
‘By attacking those that work to protect the environment, halt our natural decline, & stop climate change, they have revealed their own nihilistic hand Groups like WWF have done far more and will do more for our planet than these extremists.’
The phrase ‘jumping the shark’ refers to when someone does something far-fetched to try and maintain interest.
Earlier protesters, from offshoot Animal Rebellion, wanted dairy company Arla to transition to plant-based production by 2025 and claim they will not leave the firm’s site in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, until it agrees to do so.
It claims Arla emitted more greenhouse gases in 2017 than BHP, a mining company, and ConocoPhillips, an oil producer.
James Ozden, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said ‘The dairy industry abuses animals, the planet and workers, who are increasingly squeezed by big business.
‘Arla say they’re pro-worker but lobby for supermarket contracts that sell milk for less than water.
‘We’re not just demanding that Arla go plant-based by 2025, we’re demanding that the Government supports companies like Arla by funding a just transition for workers in meat and dairy industries to just and sustainable alternatives.’
XR hit the WWF HQ in Woking at 9.30am under the explanation of it being in solidarity with indigenous groups in Tanzania, Cameroon and Kenya
Disbelief as XR targeted wildlife and environment preservation cause the WWF this moring
Claimed the occupation was in solidarity with indigenous groups in Tanzania and Cameroon
The stunt was condemned and slated as ‘jumping the shark’ due to the choice of target
Bamboo-zled: The bamboo structure has thwarted efforts to go in or out of the site
The protesters arrived under the cover of darkness to set up their dairy demonstration
The group said a climate crisis could lead to unstable crop supplies to feed dairy cows and also potentially expose them to heat stress for two months longer than usual, which could lead to a milk shortage.
Metropolitan Police officers then surrounded the vehicle atop the bridge and several streets at London Bridge to stop people entering the area.
The force tweeted: ‘Officers are responding to a demonstration in #LondonBridge where protesters have assembled and are blocking the road.
‘We are currently assessing the situation working to keep disruption in the area to a minimum.’
Pedestrians coming from London Bridge Underground station were diverted away from the protest by approximately 20 officers and police vans on one road alone.
An officer confirmed some people taking part in the protest were being arrested, and the road closures would be in place ‘for hours’.
Extinction Rebellion London tweeted: ‘We will leave the streets when the Government starts treating the climate emergency like an emergency.
Police officers surround a vehicle, parked across the road as climate activists strike London
A protester shows a glued palm against a window, as police officers surround a vehicle
Police and demonstrators with a bus parked on London Bridge in central London today
‘Covid showed what the Government can do in a crisis, it’s the level of response required for the climate but sustained over years. #ExtinctionRebellion’.
Eleven demonstrators were arrested on Monday, when protesters occupied Tower Bridge.
More than 300 arrests have been made during the first week of Extinction Rebellion’s fifth wave of mass protests in London.
Some 11 activists were arrested during action on Bank Holiday Monday, which saw protesters block Tower Bridge with a van and caravan.
It follows 34 arrests on Sunday when demonstrators occupied the Science Museum in protest against its partnership with oil giant Shell.
The Metropolitan Police said there had been a total of 367 arrests in the capital since the environmentalist group began its latest round of action, dubbed the Impossible Rebellion, on August 23.
The group is demanding the Government stops investment in fossil fuels.
As part of the protests, activists have blocked a road in central London with a large pink table containing built-in lock-ons, spray painted the floor outside the HM Revenue & Customs headquarters and daubed the famous Guildhall in the City of London in red paint.
Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, dyed the Buckingham Palace fountains red in protest at animal hunting.
Activists were seen lying on the ground near Tower Bridge, while others wore aprons emblazoned with Tell The Truth
Protesters display a banner message as climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion group
Today’s central London protest featured a bus, which protesters had glued themselves to
On Monday, activists were seen lying on the ground near Tower Bridge, while others wore aprons emblazoned with Tell The Truth and with teapots with Deniabilitea written on them.
Protesters were seen to be removed by officers prior to the blocking of the bridge.
The Metropolitan Police said demonstrators had used ‘complex’ lock-ons ‘to frustrate our removal efforts’, and specialist removal teams were drafted in.
The force said on Twitter: ‘We see many comments and questions asking why this work can’t be quicker and use more direct tactics.
‘While we understand the public’s frustration, we must consider the safety of everyone involved – including our officers.
‘This work is painstaking but we work as quick as we can.’
Extinction Rebellion is due to continue its action for a second week.