Climate activists block access to London Stock Exchange

Protesters blocking traffic outside the Bank of England during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London yesterday.
Protesters blocking traffic outside the Bank of England during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Environmentalists glued themselves to the London Stock Exchange entrance and staged impromptu concerts in the middle of traffic on the final day of a campaign that brought parts of the British capital to a standstill.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion - a fast-growing movement founded last year by British academics - have used 11 days of festive but highly disruptive rallies to focus global attention on climate change.

Their ultimate goal is to slash greenhouse gas emissions to a net level of zero by 2025 and bring biodiversity loss to a halt.

But their immediate aim was to get British politicians to look past hot-button issues such as Brexit and think of ways to save the planet from irreparable damage that younger generations think will hurt them the most.

"Many of the most environmentally destructive companies in the world have their stock market listings at the London Stock Exchange," the group said yesterday.

Extinction Rebellion members said their campaign received a great deal of public attention but failed to get the government to budge.

"The traffic disruptions have really, really brought the whole climate and environment out from being a niche issue," guitarist Nick Onley said while leading a group of 20 through a Beatles song performance in the middle of a busy London intersection.

 
 

"But it hasn't been a complete success. We haven't got to that point where the government says 'yes, please talk to us'," Mr Onley said as drivers stuck in the heart of London's bustling financial district furiously honked their horns.

Activists had earlier targeted high-profile - and tourist-heavy - locations such as the Oxford and Piccadilly Circus intersections. They also camped out at a statue-filled square facing the grand Parliament building.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2019, with the headline 'Climate activists block access to London Stock Exchange'. Print Edition | Subscribe