Thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of Parliament in London as part of days of protests against the British government’s environmental policy. The focus of the rally on Saturday was nature and species protection, and some of the participants came in animal costumes. Many children also took part in the protest march that led from Westminster Abbey to Parliament. The demonstrators carried banners reading “Annihilation forever”.
Protester Jenny O’Hara Jakwai, who traveled six hours with her two children to attend the demonstration, said environmental degradation and biodiversity loss constituted an “emergency”. “Everyone must unite so that future generations can enjoy our beautiful planet.”
The 47-year-old added that she has to be out on the streets more often to protect the environment, but her life consists of “work and family”. Inaction “is no longer an option due to the urgency of the situation.” Ten-year-old Fox, who attended the protest with his parents and five-year-old sister, was dressed as a tiger. “We are here to save the planet from the people who are destroying it,” he said.
At the conclusion of the march in front of parliament, the organizers said the demonstrators prostrated themselves in memory and mourning of the heartbreaking 70 percent decline in wildlife numbers since the first Earth Day in the 1970s.
“With the government continuing to fan the flames of the climate and biodiversity crisis, it is clear that only concerted efforts can put it out,” said Ariba Hamid, chair of Greenpeace UK. The four days of protests in the UK were a “catalyst for a new united struggle against interest groups that put profits over people and the planet”.
The days of protest began on Friday with demonstrations in front of ministries in London, which also took part, according to environmental group Extinction Rebellion (XR). The British government’s “environmental and social failure” was denounced.
The XR has caused controversy in recent years by closing roads and airports. However, the group announced in January that it would stop these dramatic protests for the time being and instead mobilize many people to work towards protecting nature and the climate.
XR accuses the Conservative British government of ignoring the dangers of global warming. “The climate and environment crisis is not going to happen in the future, it’s already there,” said Zoe Cohen, a spokeswoman for XR. It is time for the government to take this seriously and listen to the people here.” A large rally is scheduled for Sunday in parallel with the London Marathon. In order to minimize disruption, protest organizers have held talks with sporting event organizers beforehand.
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