Police arrest 118 environmental protesters as XR demos enter third day

Police have now arrested at least 118 protesters as environmental demonstrations in central London went into a third day.

Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) targeted Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and the Brazilian embassy on Wednesday, hours after members of another protest group glued themselves to a McDonald's in Leicester Square.

Activists who gathered by the Brazilian embassy say they targeted the building over “the genocidal attacks being waged against Brazil’s indigenous peoples”.

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro, 66, has been accused of presiding over a surge of destruction in the Amazon rainforest and attempting to open indigenous reservations and other protected lands to mining.

Police officers ring climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion group who are gathered around a pink structure they built in the middle of Oxford Circus in central London on August 25. (Getty)
Police officers ring climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion group gathered around a pink structure they built in the middle of Oxford Circus in central London, on 25 August. (Getty)

The previous night, protesters who glued themselves to McDonald’s were arrested.

Members of Animal Rebellion – which is closely aligned with XR – gathered for an “occupation” of the Leicester Square branch of the fast-food giant.

A demonstrator during a protest calling for an end to 'the genocidal attacks being waged against Brazil's indigenous peoples' at the Brazilian Embassy, London, by members of Extinction Rebellion, Amazon Rebellion, Brazil Matters, CAFOD, Greenpeace, Parents for Future and Survival International. Picture date: Wednesday August 25, 2021.
A demonstrator outside the Brazilian embassy wears a mask with a slogan around his face. (PA)

Protesters were pictured with their hands glued to the glass, while others held up yellow flags at the front of the store.

Shortly before the protest, Animal Rebellion tweeted: “Feeling sleepy? Leave your wallet at home and come with a snack, some superglue and a sleeping bag.”

Police guard the McDonald's where Animal Rebellion protesters glued themselves to windows. (Twitter/Animal Rebellion)
Police guard the McDonald's where Animal Rebellion protesters glued themselves to windows. (Twitter/Animal Rebellion)

While staging the McDonald's protest, Animal Rebellion said: “There are now three rebels glued on at our McSleep-in as we occupy McDonald’s Leicester Square for the slumber party of the year!

“We’ll be here all night to send a message to McDonald’s that it’s time to stop sleeping on the job and transition to a plant-based food system.”

Protesters glued their hands to the glass inside the McDonald's. (Twitter/Animal Rebellion)
Protesters glued their hands to the glass inside the McDonald's. (Twitter/Animal Rebellion)

But police were soon called to the “sleepover” and Animal Rebellion claimed 36 “rebels” had been arrested.

Yahoo News UK has contacted the Metropolitan Police for a comment.

A total of 118 arrests had been made as of 5.30pm on Tuesday, according to the force’s website.

It said the arrests were for a variety of offences.

Protesters held up yellow flags at the front of the McDonald's in Leicester Square. (Twitter/Animal Rebellion)
Protesters held up yellow flags at the front of the McDonald's in Leicester Square. (Twitter/Animal Rebellion)

Earlier on Tuesday, XR said two women had been arrested for spray painting the floor outside HM Revenue and Customs.

An elderly woman who lay in the road was carried off by four policemen and appeared to be arrested, with XR protesters suggesting this was for obstruction.

Other demonstrators lay in front of a banner saying “government in bed with climate criminals”.

After gathering at Parliament Square, demonstrators ran towards slow-moving traffic on Whitehall.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/08/23: Animal Rebellion protesters hold placards outside a branch of McDonalds restaurant during the Extinction Rebellions day one of a two week demonstration in Central London.
Extinction Rebellion held a protest against climate change, global warming, which plans to target the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis and to demand the government divest from fossil fuel companies ahead of COP26 the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. (Photo by Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Animal Rebellion protesters hold placards outside a branch of McDonald's. (Getty)

A Transport for London spokesperson said Parliament Street in Whitehall was blocked in both directions and that there was slow-moving traffic in pockets of central London near Embankment and in Westminster, with local delays expected.

A silent protest of some 20 demonstrators wearing burlap fabric with their bodies painted white also walked down from Trafalgar Square towards Whitehall.

Their robes had signs with slogans including “Funding Climate Hell”, “Burned Gas Burned Our Future” and “Permitted New Oil Drilling In Spite of Crisis”.

Police patrol in central London where environmental activists constructed Monday a large pink structure blocking the junction of Long Acre and Upper St Martin's Lane.
Police patrol in central London where environmental activists constructed a large pink structure blocking the junction of Long Acre and Upper St Martin's Lane. (PA)

The giant pink table erected in the middle of a central London street by protesters on Monday has been dismantled by police.

Segments of the four-metre structure were seen being carried off by men in hard hats and blue overalls on Tuesday.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion dressed as cleaners hold a protest outside the offices of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in Whitehall, Westminster, central London. Picture date: Tuesday August 24, 2021.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion dressed as cleaners hold a protest outside HM Revenue and Customs in Whitehall, central London. (PA)

XR kicked off its two-week "Impossible Rebellion" protests on Monday when demonstrators blocked roads in central London, including around Trafalgar Square, as they demanded the government immediately end investment in fossil fuels that they say are driving climate change.

The Met said a “significant” operation would be in place for the protests over the bank holiday weekend but also acknowledged the activists’ “important cause”.