FURIOUS MPs last night laid into Sadiq Khan and Met bosses to demand central London’s streets are cleared of all eco-warriors in time for the nation’s return to work tomorrow.
The outburst came as the London mayor signalled police were finally ready to get tough on the protest.
Eco-warriors have been dragged away from the protest by officers who have been trying to clear the area[/caption]
It was revealed yesterday that more than 9,000 police officers have been trying to tackle the climate change street occupations since they began seven days ago.
But so far they have failed to reclaim the capital’s streets.
As the climate change protest enters a second week, the eco-warriors last night still held two of their four original sites – Parliament Square and Waterloo Bridge.
Two protesters even scaled tall trees above in Parliament Square and slung hammocks.
The Commons and the Lords also come back from their Easter break on Tuesday.
Extinction Rebellion’s continuing occupation of Parliament Square would stop senior ministers being driven into the Palace of Westminster.
It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk like this
Laying into the police’s failings, Tory MP and junior government aide Huw Merriman branded the seven day-long saga “an utter embarrassment”.
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick’s earlier stand-off approach sent “the wrong message that people can take the law into their own hands”.
Mr Merriman added: “Now that Oxford Circus has been cleared, the police need to forcibly remove those holding up Parliament Square by the time rush-hour starts after the long weekend.
“It’s time to prioritise the needs of those who are trying to get to work and pay the taxes which help us combat climate change.
The Mayor of London has been pushed to sort out the disruption before the Tuesday morning commute to work begins[/caption]
“These are the people who really make a difference to our environment.”
Sadiq Khan yesterday called on the protesters to go home, saying their disruption was “now taking a real toll on our city” and it was “counter-productive to the cause”.
The huge amount of police resources they were taking up left him “extremely concerned” about the Met’s ability to also fight key issues like violent crime.
Hinting that tactics will soon toughen up, Mr Khan added: “I remain in close contact with the Met Commissioner, and agree that Londoners have suffered too much disruption.
“It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk like this.”
By noon yesterday, the Met said they had arrested 831 protesters, and charged 42 with criminal offences.
Commissioner Dick said the policing operation had been unlike any she had experienced in almost four decades of policing, and called for the “miserable” disruption to end.
Hundreds of officers from other forces have been drafted in to help quell the ongoing disruption.
One Extinction Rebellion leader yesterday announced the group would “pause” the protest to switch to political negotiations with the Government instead.
MOST READ IN POLITICS
Farhana Yamin, the group’s political circle co-ordinator, said: “We want to show that XR is a cohesive long-term, global force, not some flash in the pan”.
But others in the group called for reinforcements to come to central London, with Extinction Rebellion’s twitter account saying: “Let’s hold these sites for as long as possible! #HumansofXR, bring your love, rage, glue and more lockons!”
A Met spokesman said: “We remain in frequent contact with the organisers to ensure that the serious disruption to Londoners is brought to a close as soon as possible and that only lawful and peaceful protests continue.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg attended the Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch over the weekend[/caption]
The environmental campaign group has blocked a number of key junctions in central London in a bid to highlight the ongoing ecological crisis[/caption]
- GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org