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100+ Arrested in London Extinction Rebellion Protests
More than 100 people were arrested during ongoing climate change protests in London that brought parts of the British capital to a standstill, police said Tuesday.
Demonstrators had started by blocking off a bridge and major central road junctions on Monday at the start of a civil disobedience campaign that also saw action in other parts of Europe.
The protests were organized by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion, which was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world's fastest-growing environmental movements.
Metropolitan Police in London said that by early Tuesday 113 adults had been arrested.
That number includes three men and two women who were arrested at the UK offices of energy company Royal Dutch Shell on suspicion of criminal damage. Campaigners daubed graffiti and smashed a window at the Shell Centre building.
A protester glued herself to the Shell building.
picture-alliance / dpa / empics / J. Brady
The majority of people arrested were held for breaching public order laws and blocking a highway.
The protest saw more than a thousand people block off central London's Waterloo Bridge and lay trees in pots along its length. Later, people set up camps in Hyde Park in preparation for further demonstrations throughout the week.
Protesters Demand Action
Police have ordered protesters to confine themselves to a zone within Marble Arch, a space at the junction of Hyde Park, the Oxford Street main shopping thoroughfare and the Park Lane street of plush hotels.
Mother and daughter climate protesters at Marble Arch in London.
picture-alliance / dpa / empics / S. Parsons
"The information and intelligence available at this time means that the Met (police) feels this action is necessary in order to prevent the demonstrations from causing ongoing serious disruption," the police said.
The climate protesters want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new "citizens' assemblies on climate and ecological justice."
Spokesman for the protesters James Fox said the group had attempted to maintain a blockade overnight at four sites in central London before the police came to impose the new restriction.
People were arrested "mostly at Waterloo Bridge where the police came to try to stop everyone, but there were too many of us", he told AFP.
Fox said the protesters attached themselves to vehicles and to each other using bicycle locks.
"We have no intention of leaving until the government listens to us," he said. "Many of us are willing to sacrifice our liberty for the cause."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.
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"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
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- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›