Climate activists forced the closing of London’s historic Tower Bridge on Friday, the latest protest in the British city ahead of what they have predicted will be even more disruptive action.
Two protestors were dangling from the bridge by suspension ropes and a giant banner was stretched over its side, according to the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group, as part of a campaign to persuade the government to eliminate its dependency on fossil fuels.
The bridge, which connects the City of London financial centre to the River Thames, was closed to traffic for many hours until it was reopened, according to police.
Since last Friday, XR and other environmental groups have been holding daily protests outside oil sites in London and across the United Kingdom, and have promised that their “April Rebellion” will create even more damage in the city next week.
They want the government to commit to immediately stopping all new fossil fuel infrastructure, and they’ve stated that their methods will be to “block portions of the city for as long as possible,” shifting from “nonviolent civil disobedience to civil resistance.”
The group’s protests three years ago caused traffic disruption by bringing a big pink boat to Oxford Circus, one of the capital’s main shopping districts.
“At the heart of this Rebellion will be ‘people power,’ urging everyone to participate in nonviolent civil resistance techniques, where we will act together and be adaptable and agile in our response.”
The United Kingdom has pledged to achieving a net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, although its preparations have been hampered by the Ukraine issue.
On Thursday, environmental organisations criticised the government’s long-awaited energy policy, which included proposals to expand nuclear and offshore wind generation.
They also claimed that finance minister Rishi Sunak’s letter to financial regulators, which stated that “UK sources of oil and gas play a crucial role” in lowering the country’s reliance on foreign fossil fuels, put the net zero goal in jeopardy.