Extinction Rebellion climate protesters have begun a second day of demonstrations by blocking and chaining themselves to the entrance of a concrete factory.
Throughout the UK, the environmental protest movement is staging five days of non-violent disruption in five cities to urge the government to take immediate action to address the climate crisis.
In east London, about 50 climate protesters yesterday blocked the gates at London Concrete in Bow to stop workers or vehicles from entering the site.
Protesters were on both foot and bikes — some with banners that read: “The air that we grieve” — while three people locked themselves to iron pipes outside the factory’s entrance.
The disruption was planned to continue throughout the day to halt the expansion of the site, which is intended to support the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel — a ￡1.11 billion (US$1.38 billion) project to build a toll road under the River Thames.
Extinction Rebellion has said that the protest is intended to highlight the “devastating” health effects that the expansion would have on local residents.
“Concrete has a huge environmental impact and building another tunnel will only make air pollution across east London worse,” protester Eleanor McAree, 25, said.
“The air pollution is already at dangerous levels and is affecting the health of children and adults in the area. With the siting of this industry right next to two schools, these children face a lifelong negative impact on their health,” she added.
According to recent data from the London Atmospheric Emission Inventory, 2 million people in the capital are living with illegal air pollution.
Although total nitrogen dioxide emissions fell by 9 percent from 2013 to 2016, the number of primary schools in illegally polluted areas has barely changed in the same period, going from 371 to 369, while the number of secondary schools affected grew from 81 to 86, London City Hall said.
Extinction Rebellion is due to continue protests in London and four other cities in England and Scotland until Friday.
Musician Billy Bragg was set yesterday morning to address demonstrators on Bristol Bridge, while a peaceful protest was expected to be staged on College Green outside the London City Council building.
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