More than 1,000 arrested in Extinction Rebellion protests in London

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in environmental protests, as police branded one activist reckless and dangerous for climbing on top of a plane.

The fourth day of Extinction Rebellion demonstrations focused on London City Airport, where protesters attempted a "Hong Kong-style occupation of the terminal building" with hundreds blocking the main entrance.

Activists also blocked the entrance road, climbed on to the terminal roof and glued themselves to the entrance of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station serving the east London airport.

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Extinction Rebellion protests at City Airport, London
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Extinction Rebellion protests at City Airport, London
A man is carried away by police, after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Two women hug amid a crowd of protesters, after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters stage a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Passengers walk past with suitcases as police search protesters, after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man who has been arrested is watched by police after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police remove a protester from outside City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters outside City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police attempt to remove protesters from outside City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters outside City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police in climbing equipment remove a protesters banner from the roof of the terminal building at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police in climbing equipment remove a protesters banner from the roof of the terminal building at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police in climbing equipment remove a protester from the roof of the terminal building at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters blocking the road outside City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police in climbing equipment remove a protesters banner from the roof of the terminal building at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Protesters at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Negotiators attempt to coax protesters down from the roof of City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man is removed by police officers after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the train station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man is arrested by police officers from the Docklands Light Railway station after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man wearing an Extinction Rebellion tie is escorted by police officers from the Docklands Light Railway station after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A man is arrested by police officers from the Docklands Light Railway station after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Activists stage a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the Docklands Light Railway to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest.
A man is escorted by police officers from the Docklands Light Railway station after activists staged a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the station to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
A protester stands on the roof of the terminal building at City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest.
Police officers watch as activists stage a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the Docklands Light Railway to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest.
An activist holds a placard during a 'Hong Kong style' blockage of the exit from the Docklands Light Railway to City Airport, London, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest.
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Extinction Rebellion claims planned expansion of the airport is incompatible with meeting the Government's legally binding commitment to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050.

An Aer Lingus flight from City Airport to Dublin was delayed when a protester on board stood up to deliver a lecture on climate change just as the plane was due to take off.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Footage of a protester on top of a plane was broadcast on Facebook by the protest group (Extinction Rebellion/PA)

And one man, identified by Extinction Rebellion as former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, who is visually impaired, managed to get on top of a British Airways plane at the airport.

His actions were branded "reckless, stupid and dangerous" by Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick.

She said: "My early understanding is somebody has been arrested after they... presumably bought a ticket, went through security perfectly normally, went up the steps of a plane and hurled themselves on top of a plane.

"Actually, that was a reckless, stupid and dangerous thing to do for all concerned. But I think you can see that is quite a hard thing to predict or stop from happening."

Police said more than 1,000 people have been arrested this week since protests began around Parliament and Whitehall on Monday, including around 50 at the airport on Thursday.

Dame Cressida insisted Scotland Yard has enough cells to hold and process all of the activists, but she said officers were being taken away from tackling knife crime or safeguarding children to police the demonstrations.

She said the protesters were "utterly irresponsible and completely unreasonable" for their determination to take over and occupy important arterial roads in London for a two-week period.

She urged them to demonstrate in the pedestrian area of Trafalgar Square, saying: "Protest lawfully or go home."

Extinction Rebellion protests
Protesters blocked the road outside City Airport, London (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

But in a statement, Extinction Rebellion raised concerns that extreme weather caused by climate change would lead to crop losses, food crises, social unrest and damage to infrastructure, and people were risking arrest to show "how vulnerable we are".

The protests in the capital are part of an "international rebellion" happening in cities around the world, calling for urgent action to tackle climate change and wildlife losses.

Those arrested at the airport include 83-year-old Phil Kingston, who has now been detained three times as part of Extinction Rebellion protests in the past week.

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook spoke outside the airport terminal on Thursday afternoon as the number of protesters that remained at the site dwindled.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Protesters on a wooden structure on the traffic island between Northumberland Avenue and the Strand in Trafalgar Square (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Speaking to the PA news agency about the success of the demonstration, she said: "I think the most important thing is that we are alerting the British people to the crisis that we're in and the threat to all the forms of business-as-usual."

A handful of protesters were planning to stay at the airport until 9pm on Thursday, when they will decide whether or not to remain overnight or continue their protest on Friday, a spokesman from Extinction Rebellion said.

In central London, roads around Parliament and Whitehall remained closed to traffic apart from cyclists amid a heavy police presence, with protesters camped in Trafalgar Square and nearby St James's Park, where police were working to clear the camp.

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