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1,000+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Protests in London Enter Second Week

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Climate change activists gather in front of the stage at the Extinction Rebellion group's environmental protest camp at Marble Arch in London on April 22, on the eighth day of the group's protest calling for political change to combat climate change. TOLGA AKMEN / AFP / Getty Images

Extinction Rebellion, the climate protest that has blocked major London thoroughfares since Monday April 15, was cleared from three key areas over Easter weekend, The Guardian reported.


Police removed protesters from Oxford Circus Saturday, and from the roads Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge Sunday. The last person to be arrested clearing the bridge was a 70-year-old woman who had been arrested once before during the protests at Oxford Circus.

"I have been a nurse and a childminder most of my life," the woman, who preferred not to give her name, told The Press Association. "The world we are leaving for the children and grandchildren is going to be horrendous and we let it happen. It happened on our watch. So we have to stand up and fight or lie down and fight."

Despite the loss of the three sites, the movement is far from over. On Monday afternoon, around 100 protesters staged a die-in at London's Natural History Museum to call attention to the sixth mass extinction, BBC News reported.

Protesters also continue to gather at Marble Arch, where they were addressed Sunday by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has been credited with inspiring the youth climate strike movement.

"Keep going. You are making a difference," Thunberg said, as BBC News reported Sunday.

The protesters are calling for the government to "tell the truth about climate change," to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and to create a citizen's assembly to help drive the process. They aim to maximize arrests in order to call attention to the climate crisis.

According to the most recent BBC figures, the protest has led to 1,065 arrests so far, among them Olympic gold medalist Etienne Stott. Fifty-three people have actually been charged. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said that she had never seen a single police operation lead to so many arrests in her 36-year career. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that more than 9,000 police officers had responded since the protest began.

On Sunday, Khan, who has spoken in favor of climate action and has committed to divesting London from fossil fuels, urged the protesters to let London return to "business as usual" in a statement Sunday.

"I'm extremely concerned about the impact these protests are having on our ability to tackle issues like violent crime if they continue any longer," he said. "It simply isn't right to put Londoners' safety at risk like this."

In an update on their website Monday, Extinction Rebellion said the protests would enter a new phase in their second week. Protesters held a people's assembly at 3 p.m. at Marble Arch to decide on next steps. They were then planning to offer free food from 5 p.m.

"We fully recognise Extinction Rebellion has caused disruption for many Londoners, so we are extending our love through food to all who would like to join us," the group wrote on a Facebook event for the planned "Earth Feast."

Sky reported that future plans included marching to Parliament Square Tuesday morning for an action lasting through Wednesday, then marching to London's financial district on Thursday.

The group declared the first phase of its protest a success.

"This success can be expressed in numbers: at the most conservative estimate we've welcomed 30,000 new members, and have received almost £300,000 in crowdfunding, the great majority of donations being around of £10," they wrote.

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If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.

That's the conclusion of a new study from think tank Autonomy, which found that Germany, the UK and Sweden all needed to drastically reduce their workweeks to fight climate change.

"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."

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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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