Tower Bridge reopens after climate protest

Four protesters were arrested and escorted away in police vans.

08 April 2022

Tower Bridge in London has reopened following a protest by environmental activists on Friday morning.

Police were called to the bridge at about 7.30am after protesters from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion occupied the famous landmark and unfurled a green banner with black writing, which read “End fossil fuels now”.

The demonstrators suspended themselves from the bridge using cords, with police shutting it for several hours.

Officers cleared the protesters by 11.40am, escorting them into police vehicles, and the bridge was reopened at midday.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Police officers bring on shore Amy Rugg-Easey from Extinction Rebellion (Victoria Jones/PA)

The stunt by the environmental group caused frustration among members of the public, who had to find alternative routes to work.

Ben Hersh, 24, an office worker who regularly uses the bridge to get to work, told the PA news agency that the protesters should “grow up” and “stop taking aim at regular people”.

“I know that climate issues are important, but why are we always targeted?” he said

“They need to grow up, stop doing stupid stunts, stop taking aim at regular people and maybe more people would do things to help them and the environment.”

Speaking at the scene near Tower Bridge, an Uber driver who referred to himself only as Muhamed Q, 44, said: “I am worried about getting no money, or not enough money, and to jobs.”

He added: “My main money source is this and I use this bridge most of the time.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Activists from Extinction Rebellion hung from suspension cords (Victoria Jones/PA)

“I have to take longer routes and have less jobs.”

Commander Umer Khan, for policing operations and security at the City of London Police, said: “Officers were called to Tower Bridge this morning after reports of protest activity.

“Tower Bridge was subsequently shut in both directions to traffic and pedestrians and reopened at 12pm. Four people were arrested and they are currently in police custody.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan said that the protest was “counterproductive”.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s local election campaign in Barnet, north London, the London mayor said: “I think one of the things that those who feel passionate about something have to do is to win over public opinion at the same time as putting pressure on the government.

“My concern is some of the actions of XR discourage people from joining the campaign and don’t affect government policy.

“I think all campaigns or protests should be peaceful, lawful and safe and I’m concerned that some of the tactics being used are counterproductive”.

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