Facing Extinction? Desperate Extinction Rebellion beg for more supporters to join their attempts to shut down Oxford Circus as just a dismal handful turn up 24 hours after violent scenes on the Tube dented eco-mob's appeal

  • Extinction Rebellion's fortnight of demonstrations dragged on today but only a handful of activist showed up 
  • A small group of activists build wooden structure in Oxford, causing buses to be cancelled
  • Londoner's patience has worn thin after commuters dragged activists from tube trains yesterday
  • Workers point out that only low-emission bus services were hit by the group's latest own goal today

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Extinction Rebellion's fortnight of demonstrations across London dragged on today but only a handful of the group's diehards showed up to occupy one of the capital's busiest road junctions.

The eco-activists set up a wooden pyramid structure at the junction of Oxford Street and Regent's Street, as police, whose resources have been stretched by two weeks of stunts, moved in with officers using a cherry picker to remove them.

The small group of activists who had assembled sent out tweets pleading for reinforcements as their numbers dwindled, coming 24 hours after violent scenes during a protest on the Tube dented their appeal.

The demo was just a shadow of the April chaos, when actress Emma Thompson joined hundreds of activists on a pink boat parked in Oxford Circus, which they occupied for days.

This latest stunt saw buses, many of which are made to reduce emissions, cancelled or rerouted, causing delays for workers.

Extinction Rebellion this afternoon are marching through Westminster, and are staging a sit in out the front of Downing Street. They are also carrying out a 'red handed' protest which will see it spray-paint handprints on landmarks.  

Extinction Rebellion took over Oxford Street today as their fortnight of stunts ground on, testing Londoners' patience

Extinction Rebellion took over Oxford Street today as their fortnight of stunts ground on, testing Londoners' patience

Activists built a wooden structure at the junction of Oxford Street and Regent's Street, forced police to move in en masse

Activists built a wooden structure at the junction of Oxford Street and Regent's Street, forced police to move in en masse

A JCB with a crane was brought in this morning to try and remove some of the protesters on the wooden structure

A JCB with a crane was brought in this morning to try and remove some of the protesters on the wooden structure

A protesters is removed by police at Oxford Circus, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest

A protesters is removed by police at Oxford Circus, London, during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest

Police quickly shut down the area as they move to dismantle the structure without hurting those tied to it

Police quickly shut down the area as they move to dismantle the structure without hurting those tied to it

The group, whose cause suffered a setback when an activists resorted to violence yesterday, admitted they were low on numbers

The group, whose cause suffered a setback when an activists resorted to violence yesterday, admitted they were low on numbers

Yesterday commuters sick of delays and mayhem took steps to arrest demonstrators themselves at Canning Town tube station. The group later apologised over the violence, and scaled down a planned 'shutdown' of Gatwick Airport, but still continued their disruption this morning.    

Responses from many of Twitter showed that public sympathy with the group has run dry. Many Londoners branded today's action 'pointless' and counter-productive.

Abby Deveney wrote: 'Blocking Oxford Circus halts buses used by real people ... people with buggies, people with walking sticks, people with invisible mobility issues, yeah, those kind of people. This strategy is not helpful'

Another Twitter user wrote: 'The extinction rebellion lot made me late to work. They really blocked Oxford Street (where regular cars are already banned) and just disrupted public transport. They need to work on their tactics.'

A protester sits on top of a bamboo structure built to block the road at Oxford Circus, London, during an Extinction Rebellion  climate change protest

A protester sits on top of a bamboo structure built to block the road at Oxford Circus, London, during an Extinction Rebellion  climate change protest

Meanwhile, tree surgeon Ben Atkinson, 43, sparked a security scare in the grounds of Parliament when he climbed scaffolding surrounding Big Ben – despite tighter security since the 2017 Westminster terror attack.

Earlier, the activist, from Cumbria, posted pictures showing himself in a blond Boris Johnson wig while standing yards from the landmark.

After climbing the scaffold, he hung a banner reading ‘No pride on a Dead Planet’ and another calling for a citizens’ assembly to tackle climate issues.

In an online message to the Prime Minister, he wrote: ‘Now you’ve got a chance to do something that could last for centuries. A legacy of being the man that turned it all around.’ He was later arrested.

Hundreds marked the last day in a fortnight of climate change protests with a ‘red hand march’ in Westminster. Campaigners used washable paint to make handprints on buildings, including the Treasury.

Police arrested an activist for spray-painting a memorial to First Wold War hero Field Marshall Earl Haig.

Tree surgeon Ben Atkinson, 43, sparked a security scare in the grounds of Parliament when he climbed scaffolding surrounding Big Ben – despite tighter security since the 2017 Westminster terror attack

Tree surgeon Ben Atkinson, 43, sparked a security scare in the grounds of Parliament when he climbed scaffolding surrounding Big Ben – despite tighter security since the 2017 Westminster terror attack

One protester sits on top of a pyramid structure at the junction of Oxford Circus and Regent Street

One protester sits on top of a pyramid structure at the junction of Oxford Circus and Regent Street

There were only a handful of Extinction Rebellion protestors demonstrating today, blocking off one of the capital's busiest junctions

There were only a handful of Extinction Rebellion protestors demonstrating today, blocking off one of the capital's busiest junctions

Robert Hook wrote: 'A fairly pointless protest indeed, given that the desire of most vendors along Oxford Street is to pedestrianise it! 

'It's true that this is one of the most polluted streets on the planet, but the only people inconvenienced by this are the people least able to make a difference!' 

An Extinction Rebellion spokesman said of the Oxford Circus protest: 'The end of the Rebellion approaches, and Oxford Circus has once again been occupied by Extinction Rebellion, to be used as a space of community and democratic resistance.

'We are coming together to tell the truth, and to bring attention to why we are protesting. It's not about causing meaningless disruption; we have a vital message to bring - the consequences of the climate and ecological crisis are horrific.

'Extinction Rebellion, as well as other movements around the world including the climate strikes and decades of indigenous resistance, are using the beacon of civil resistance to shine a light on this emergency.'

The pyramid structure has been erected in the middle of the junction. One man is sitting on top of it, forcing buses to be re-routed

The pyramid structure has been erected in the middle of the junction. One man is sitting on top of it, forcing buses to be re-routed

Scores of police stand circled the wooden pyramid structure, as protesters sat on top of it, or lay down underneath it

Scores of police stand circled the wooden pyramid structure, as protesters sat on top of it, or lay down underneath it

Police escort protesters dressed in red along Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion demo this afternoon

Police escort protesters dressed in red along Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion demo this afternoon

A protester with her hand painted walks along Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest

A protester with her hand painted walks along Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest

Protesters on Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest
XR activists were joined by comedian Steve Coogan as they marched on Whitehall

Comedian Steve Coogan (right) today become the latest celebrity to support the Extinction Rebellion protest, joining activists (some dressed in red for their 'red hand protest, left) on a march towards Whitehall

Comedian Steve Coogan today become the latest celebrity to support the Extinction Rebellion protest, joining activists on a march towards Whitehall.

Coogan told the PA news agency: 'I wanted to lend my voice to the cause. Maybe people who like what I have done and who might not be completely sold on Extinction Rebellion might give it a second chance.

'It's an important movement. Some people try to characterise it as a fringe movement, but it's not. I like the fact that it was started by young people, but now older people have joined in too.

'Climate change feels like just another issue on the agenda that people are reluctant to pay attention to. But people in Extinction Rebellion and people who seriously believe want to make it a bigger issue.

'Anyone who is against the movement is motivated purely by the bottom line.

'I have always been environmentally aware and environmentally conscious. I just do not want to stand on the sidelines and not participate. It's easy to sit and not do anything.'

The scenes today were very different to back in April when hundreds of protesters descended on the junction (pictured)

The scenes today were very different to back in April when hundreds of protesters descended on the junction (pictured)

Actress Emma Thompson joins climate protesters in Oxford Street on April 19. The pink boat remained in place for nearly a week before it was removed

Actress Emma Thompson joins climate protesters in Oxford Street on April 19. The pink boat remained in place for nearly a week before it was removed

As protests enter day 12, Extinction Rebellion is planning a 'red handed' protest which will see it spray-paint handprints around Westminster. 

Asked about why the activists were protesting despite the police ban, Phyllis Wolff from Dorset said it would be a bigger risk if they did not act.

'It's a bigger risk for us not to do this,' she told the PA news agency.

'I look at my grandchildren and I think, how can I not do this?'  

Activist Alice Hampton, from London, said the group has the right to protest.

'We do have a right to a powerful protest in this country,' she told the PA news agency.

'Climate change is probably the biggest issue we have ever faced. We are here protesting peacefully.'

Extinction Rebellion which launched its latest campaign 10 days ago, said it was planning on using washable chalk spray to mark the path of its march from Whitehall Gardens to six government departments.

A spokesman said: 'We will raise our red hands, taking responsibility for our actions - we all have blood on our hands.

'We march in admission and recognition of the part we play in the injustice of this emergency, and the ongoing suffering of thousands of people around the world due to the climate and ecological breakdown.'

The Autumn Uprising is due to end at 6pm on Saturday.

Elsewhere in London fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, joined her son Joe Corre and a member of Extinction Rebellion outside the head office of BP.

They are delivering a report on the company's activities in West Papua in Indonesia.

Yesterday, Extinction Rebellion was forced to apologise after activists targeted a tube train at Canning Town.

One activist was dragged to the ground from the roof of the train by an irate commuter. Video then showed the activist apparently kicking out at the person who had pulled him to the floor. 

The group later said: 'It is regretful that there was violence at today's action at Canning Town tube station. We would like to express our sadness that events escalated this way. 

Responses from workers on Twitter showed that sympathy among the public is running thin after two weeks of mayhem
Responses from workers on Twitter showed that sympathy among the public is running thin after two weeks of mayhem

Responses from workers on Twitter showed that sympathy among the public is running thin after two weeks of mayhem
Responses from workers on Twitter showed that sympathy among the public is running thin after two weeks of mayhem

Responses from workers on Twitter showed that sympathy among the public is running thin after two weeks of mayhem

'We are aware that one of our activists responded in self-defence in a moment of panic when confronted by a threatening situation.

'He acknowledges his accountability for this action and we offer gratitude for members of the public who helped to protect him.'

The group apologised for the disruption caused to commuters, but said the incident should not create 'unnecessary division'.

The protester dragged off the London Underground train by angry commuters has been revealed to be an accounts administrator from Bristol.

James Mee, 35, was part of a gang including a Buddhist teacher, a grandfather and a vicar who brought chaos to three stations east of the capital: Canning Town, Shadwell and Stratford. 

He and Mark Ovland, 36, were dragged from the top of a Tube train at Canning Town before being roughed up by enraged commuters. 

(Left to right) Free West Papua spokesperson Raki Ap, Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda, Dame Vivienne Westwood, her son Joe Corre and a member of Extinction Rebellion outside the head office of BP, in London, where they are delivering a report on the company's activities in West Papua

(Left to right) Free West Papua spokesperson Raki Ap, Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda, Dame Vivienne Westwood, her son Joe Corre and a member of Extinction Rebellion outside the head office of BP, in London, where they are delivering a report on the company's activities in West Papua

Their actions led to Extinction Rebellion cancelling its planned Gatwick 'shutdown' as members high up within the organisation condemn the splinter group for halting trains despite a group-wide poll deciding against the stunt. 

A senior source within the climate protest group, said last night: 'We were vehemently opposed to it. So it's really upsetting for this to happen. This was not an action we support.

'Despite this, the action has gone ahead, and we feel that the actions of a handful of protestors have jeopardised our movement, turning public opinion against us, and creating a potential schism within our ranks. We are furious that this has happened.' 

Mr Mee kicked out at a man who approached the carriage but was dragged to the platform and roughed up, drawing howls of outrage from Londoners, politicians, union leaders, police, and official XR spokespeople.  

Another of the activists who climbed on top of a tube train this morning has been identified as a 36-year-old Buddhist. 

Mark Ovland gave up his full-time Buddhist teacher training studies earlier this year to join XR as a 'full time protestor'.    

Police charge five Extinction Rebellion activists including Buddhist teacher, 36, and 83-year-old grandfather after protesters caused chaos by climbing onto and gluing themselves to trains

Five people have been charged over yesterday's Tube protests by Extinction Rebellion activists.

The three men and two women, arrested in connection with the protests at Canning Town and Shadwell stations, will appear in court today.

A further three men arrested at either Canning Town or Stratford have been bailed 'under strict conditions', British Transport Police said.

Yesterday as Extinction Rebellion's eco-protest entered its 11th day activists launched a co-ordinated strike on three London Underground stations, clambering on top of carriages and gluing themselves to doors despite Monday's city-wide ban issued by the Met Police.

But their efforts to disrupt public transport were met with a furious backlash from commuters, industry groups and politicians leading one XR spokesman to admit the move had been a 'huge own goal'.

Video surfaced from Canning Town station of a protester seemingly being beaten and kicked by angry workers on the station platform having been dragged bodily from the top of a train.

British Transport Police said today that four people will appear at court this morning charged in connection to the incident at Shadwell DLR station. 

They are: Margreit Bos, 32 of Chartham, Kent; Martin Newell, 52 of Birmingham;  Philip Kingston, 83 of Patchway; and Sue Parfitt, 77 of Bristol.

Mark Ovland on the Tube train
Buddhist trainee teacher Mark Ovland was among those arrested at Caning Town yesterday for scrambling atop a tube

Buddhist trainee teacher Mark Ovland (left in left picture, and right) has been charged after scrambling atop a tube at Canning Town yesterday

They have each been charged with obstructing an engine or carriage on the railway contrary to Section 36 of the Malicious Damage Act and will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court this morning.

One of the men arrested at Canning Town will also appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates corner today.

Mark Ovland, 36 of Keinton Mandeville, was charged with breaching bail conditions. 

A second man, aged 35 and from Filton, South Gloucestershire was arrested on suspicion of obstructing the railway and has been bailed with strict conditions, pending further enquiries. 

The police added that 'enquiries continue in relation to the obstruction incident'. 

At Stratford two men aged 32 from Lewisham and Hull were arrested for obstructing the railway. They have been bailed with strict conditions, while further enquiries continue.   

Grandfather-of-four, 83, charged after 13th arrest in an XR protest

Climate activist Phil Kingston, an 83-year-old repeat protester, said he had glued himself to a train at Shadwell for the sake of his grandchildren. 

Yesterday's was his 13th arrest on behalf of XR. He has now been charged with obstructing an engine or carriage on the railway contrary to Section 36 of the Malicious Damage Act.

Earlier this month he was arrested three times in a week and said the third was actually his ninth arrest in the last year.

The retired probation officer, from Bristol, said before his arrest on October 10 he was joining the Extinction Rebellion climate change protest at London City Airport for his four grandchildren and 'all of their generation'.

Phil Kingston said today he is taking part in the protest at City Airport for his four grandchildren and 'all of their generation'

Phil Kingston said today he is taking part in the protest at City Airport for his four grandchildren and 'all of their generation'

Mr Kingston joked earlier this month that he had been 'just going to get a plane' before he was dragged outside. I'm very happy to be here.'

It comes after Mr Kingston was arrested on Monday October 7 for spraying the words 'Life not death for my grandchildren' on the walls of the Treasury in Westminster, and the previous Thursday for spraying fake blood on the same building.

Extinction Rebellion occupy Oxford Street in latest stunt

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