Extinction Rebellion protesters return to block off central London

18 October 2019, 09:54 | Updated: 18 October 2019, 13:55

Police have cleared Extinction Rebellion protesters from Oxford Circus after they built a pyramid blocking off the UK's busiest shopping street.

Protesters blocked off the junction of Oxford Street and Regent Street with banners before quickly erecting bamboo poles in a pyramid shape, with a tree branch hanging from the middle of it.

Some of the protesters locked themselves to the structure to raise awareness of the climate emergency.

Others attached themselves to fellow protesters with pipes as they lay on the ground around the pyramid with Extinction Rebellion flags on them.

Dozens of police surrounded the protesters as they cordoned off the area.

After a couple of hours police used a cherry picker to remove protesters who had locked themselves to the top of the pyramid.

Other protesters had pipes linking them together removed by police with electric saws - after protective goggles were placed on them.

The protesters defied a London-wide protest ban, but said it was worth it to keep pushing politicians to tackle climate change.

Activists said they had been trying to find an opportunity to hold the stunt for four days, and it was nearly called off after a public outcry when protesters suspended parts of the Tube and DLR network in east London on Thursday when they climbed on top of trains.

Four activists who were protesting at Shadwell station, including two priests and an ex-parole officer, appeared in court this morning after they were charged with obstructing an engine or carriageway on the railway.

Reverend Sue Parfitt, a 77-year-old Anglican priest from Bristol, and Friar Martin Newell, 52, a Catholic priest from Birmingham are appearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court.

Fellow Christians for Climate Change activist, and ex-parole officer, Phil Kingston, 83, and Margreit Bos, 32, will appear with them.

Another protester, Mark Ovland, 36, who was arrested at Canning Town station, will also appear in the court, charged with breaching bail conditions.

A second unnamed man, aged 35, who was arrested with him on suspicion of obstructing the railway has been bailed with strict conditions, pending further enquiries.

Two other men, both aged 32, were arrested at Stratford station for obstructing the railway but have been bailed.

At midday protesters started marching past government departments on Whitehall and spraying the buildings with silhouettes of red handprints using washable chalk.

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

The group said it is to highlight "our shared responsibility of the climate and ecological emergency".

Activists will also deliver a set of specific demands to each department.