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In April 2019, thousands of protestors took to the streets of London to block major junctions in London. They blocked Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge. They were protesting about climate change under the name of Extinction Rebellion. These images show the a staged die-in at the Natural History Museum, the police clearance of Oxford Circus, and the release of an arrest able from court.
Extinction Rebellion stage a 'die-in' at the Natural History Museum
In April, 2019, 4 major sites in London were brought to a standstill by thousands of protestors staging ‘peaceful protests’. The sites were Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square. At the same time, other specific locations were chosen to raise awareness. In this image, dozens of Extinction Rebellion protestors were staging a ‘die-in’ at the Natural History museum in order to raise awareness for Climate Change and to ask the public and politicians to change their behaviors.
Police move in to clear Oxford Circus
After 5 days of protests, hundreds of police surrounded Oxford Circus to remove the protestors and open the roads to traffic again. Many of the protestors were not willing to be arrested (known by the group as 'non-arrestables') and so peacefully moved on when asked. However, a few protestors had chained themselves to each other, at times inside tubes of wire and heavy duty materials requiring specialist police teams to remove them. This group were known as 'arrestables'. The police remained polite and professional to the journalists and protestors throughout.
Arrestables wait for the police to remove them
Policeman is seen observing 4 'arrestables' who were protesting for Extinction Rebellion on the streets at Oxford Circus, London. The woman in the foreground was heavily pregnant. Despite this, she patiently waited for the specialist police teams to remove her whilst receiving words of support or frustration from passers by. Other protestors created shade on a surprisingly warm April day. In the background is Elliot Cuciurean who I later photographed being released from Westminster Magistrates Court.
Protestors show solidarity for the 'arrestables' holding Oxford Circus
Whilst the 'arrestables' at Oxford Circus were having their arms extricated from the various contraptions in which they had glued them, the 'non-arrestables' (those unwilling to be arrested) showed support by chanting and cheering from beyond the police line.
An XR arrest able waters his plant whilst chained to another protestor
A policewoman helps to water a plant in the surprisingly warm April sun whilst the protestor waits for specialist police teams to free his arm. The protestor was chained to another protestor, with various materials surrounding their arms to make the removal even harder and slower for the police.
Specialist police equipment used to clear protestors from Oxford Circus
The Extinction Rebellion protestors had used a variety of materials to attach themselves to each other or public buildings. Specialist police debonding equipment was required in order to separate protestors from each other and from the materials that they had glued or chained themselves to.
Police cut through layers of material surrounding protestors' arms in order to remove them from Oxford Circus.
The final arrestables in Oxford Circus lie peacefully as specialist police attempt to work through the materials enclosing their arms. The police worked professionally and respectfully, ensuring that the protestors' safety was paramount. The atmosphere was friendly throughout, often with police sympathizing with the goals of the protestors.
A protestors holds up a non-violent sign whilst police work to free their arm
Specialist police teams work to remove protestors from their chains or other contraptions in which they were attached in order to remove them from Oxford Circus and take them to a police station. The whole ethos of Extinction Rebellion was non-violence and peaceful protesting. It was surprisingly effective as the police required significant resources to remove protestors one by one rather that using traditional riot control techniques to disburse large groups of protestors.
A protester smiles to the cameras
Having been cut free, this protester is seen smiling to the cameras in Oxford Circus, whilst he waits to be transported to a police van.
An extinction rebellion protestor smiles for the camera as he is carried to a police van
Protestors are given the option to walk to the police van where they will be taken to a police station and arrested. However, the Extinction Rebellion training suggested that ‘arrestables’ should ‘go limp’ in order to ensure that several police officers are required to transport the ‘arrestable’ to the police van. This tactic was surprisingly effective as it consumed police resources and meant that the sites could be held by the protestors for longer. In this image the protester smiled at the camera, clearly enjoying the moment, as he was taken away.
An 'arrestable' is released after his hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court
Elliott Cuciurean is released from Westminster Magistrates Court with a fine of £105 for a Section 14 offense, after being arrested at Oxford Circus. He had passed his time in the cell drawing designs and patterns and making notes about climate change.
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