The stunt, organised by pressure group Extinction Rebellion (XR), sees individuals sitting alone in busy roads across the nation wearing signs with messages about their fears for the future, while others donned costumes similar to those in the futuristic Handmaiden’s Tale. The protest began at 11am on May 1 – two years exactly since Parliament declared a climate emergency.
The Bank of England was also splashed with fake oil as part of an associated Money Rebellion.
Morgan Trowland, 38, glued himself to London’s Tower Bridge, prompting City of London Police to close it to southbound traffic.
Mr Trowland, a civil engineer from Hackney, east London, said: “I’m terrified that billions will die because of the climate crisis, humans and non-humans.
“I’m freaking out that many people are accepting this, or feel powerless to change the course. I want to show onlookers that we each have phenomenal power.”
Another man blocked Blackfriars Bridge holding a placard reading: “I’m terrified billions will starve while our Government refuses to act on the climate crisis.”
Away from the capital Bing Jones, a 68-year-old retired NHS doctor, blocked a road in Sheffield.
He said: “I’m terrified that our climate targets are empty promises.
“We have targets for 2050 but we are still increasing emissions today. The Government has made inexcusable Covid mistakes. I’m terrified that they will be even worse on the climate crisis.”
He added: “I am desperate. I write, lobby and support green politics but see nothing real happening.
“So I am sitting in the road today with a notice saying I am terrified. I am sorry to disrupt ordinary people but I do not know what else to do.”
Nurse Andrea Muntiu, 36, blocked traffic in her home town of Ipswich.
She said: “People may wonder what a nurse is doing sitting in the road with a placard. They may wonder what impact this will have on my career or whether I’ll get in trouble with the police.
“I am aware of the risks but I feel I have a moral duty to warn people about the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis.”
She added: “We can still change things, we can demand the Government acts now and safeguards what we have.”
Saturday’s protests coincided with a number of demonstrations against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The Bill was drafted partly in response to previous disruptive action by XR and also the Black Lives Matter movement.
The proposed legislation would give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests – including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.
(More to follow)