UK Labour Party to force climate emergency vote, following 11-day protest

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators staging a protest near the Tate Modern in London on April 27, 2019.
Extinction Rebellion demonstrators staging a protest near the Tate Modern in London on April 27, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's opposition Labour Party is expected to force a vote this week to declare a national climate change emergency following 11 days of protests that gridlocked parts of central London.

"On Wednesday, the UK Parliament will have the chance to be the first in the world to declare an environment and climate emergency, which we hope will trigger a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said late on Saturday (April 27).

He will demand that the country takes action to help avoid more than 1.5 deg C of warming, requiring global emissions to be cut by almost half of 2010 levels by 2030.

Mr Corbyn said that the recent protest was "a massive and necessary wake-up call" that demanded "rapid and dramatic action".

Environmentalists used festive but highly disruptive rallies to focus global attention on climate change, bringing parts of London to a standstill.

The entire campaign saw police make 1,130 arrests and press charges against 69 people.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist behind the new wave of protests, called it "a great first step".

"We can not solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency," she added.