An Extinction Rebellion protester dressed as Boris Johnson has climbed Big Ben on the penultimate day of the group’s latest round of protests to demand urgent action on the climate crisis

It comes after activists blockaded Oxford Circus by scaling bamboo tripods and marched through Westminster, leaving red hand marks on government buildings with chalk spray paint. 

The group continue to defy a London-wide ban on its protests amid anger over its disruption of the London Underground yesterday, which saw activists fiercely attacked by commuters. 

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A few more details from the latest XR statement:• More than 30,000 people attended the London protests over the two week period according to organisers


• More than 3,000 people have been arrested worldwide over the two weeks – meaning London arrests have made up around half of the total.


• The group hit out at the police response, saying that “many of the visual aspects and therefore the joy of the planned rebellion were not possible” due to confiscations and escalating legal orders

Extinction Rebellion has issued an apology to Londoners following the disruption caused to commuters – and the controversial decision to target transport hubs in the east of the city.The group’s decision to halt train networks in Newham – a move that led to some activists being pulled from the tops of tube trains by angry locals – led to criticism that the group had overlooked the impact of their protests on working class communities.


Now in a statement titled “The second album was never going to be easy”, the group have apologised to city residents, saying “We don’t do this out of malice, we do it because we are scared and we care. For many of us, this is our home, and we love it too”.


Commenting on the final day of protests, they added:

Today gives us an opportunity to reflect on the raw journey we’ve taken together – both as a movement as well as with the wider public. 

The events make clear that everyday lives and the climate and ecological emergency are both important. 

As we saw from yesterday in Canning Town, Shadwell and Stratford it is clear we need to learn how to better bridge that gap.

We don’t always get it right. 

We know on this journey we will and do make mistakes. Like everyone else, we are all imperfectly perfect human beings who are just as much a part of a system destroying the planet as anyone else.

We know we do things that cause disruption to everyday people’s lives – to make concrete the existential threat we all face – and they are rightly angry when we do this. But many of us are also scared for the future of the planet which we hold so dear.

We still have not brought everyone with us on the issue of the Climate and Ecological Emergency. 

Many of the same voices who are marginalised and excluded in society do not see Extinction Rebellion as their movement. 

Many are just so worried about just getting by – to them our message seems and is irrelevant. They can no more contemplate or risk arrest than they can take two weeks off work.

Now is the time to make a concerted effort to listen. Whether or not people choose to decide to join us. We don’t wish to force anyone to join Extinction Rebellion. We do care that people find their role and voice in what is to come, with whatever group or in whatever way that is right for them. 

Extinction Rebellion London’s twitter account has issued a lengthy comment on the protestor climbing the houses of parliament – saying that he “faces terrorism charges” while adding “Desperation drives you to all sorts and each person decides for themselves what to do”


The man, who has been identified by the group as Ben Atkinson, a tree surgeon, prompted the closure of several entrances to parliament as police brought in specialists to bring him down.  


It is currently unclear if the man has yet been arrested or charged with any specific crime.


This rebel is desperate. The government is not listening, not telling the truth, not acting to protect us in the face of calamity. He faces terrorism charges. He faces jail. This is an emergency & is there is barely any time to do anything to mitigate it.


Can you imagine what it is like to know that we have lost 60% of wildlife since 1970, that 97% of meadows are gone, that the weather our crops depend on is distorting – they won’t grow in years to come? The government obsesses over short term issues amid the 6th mass extinction.


Desperation drives you to all sorts & each person decides for themselves what to do. #ExtinctionRebellion is a community that supports, loves, celebrates, calms people down in times of stress.This is a regenerative community of people confronting humankind’s greatest threat.


To all the deniers, delayers, trolls & troublemakers – the challenge to you now to get serious, this is an emergency! We are hypocrites, we are attention seekers, we are making a difference against all the odds. We are brave in your abuse, this is for life, this is for you.

Across the water from the palace of Westminster, an Extinction Rebellion boat has taken to the water.


Pink vessels have been an element of protest action since the group occupied Oxford Street in 2018 – when a luminous boat was left land locked on the street’s main crossroads.


Footage from the scene showed protesters chanting “Whose rivers? Our rivers.” with a police boat close behind them.

Protester unfurls rainbow-coloured Extinction Rebellion banner 


Photos show the activist unfurling a rainbow-coloured Extinction Rebellion banner on the scaffolding of Big Ben. 


Protester drapes two signs from Big Ben 


The protester has draped two signs from Big Ben.


One has the Extinction Rebellion logo and the words “No pride on a dead planet”. The other said “Citizens Assembly”.


The man has been identified as 43-year-old tree surgeon Ben Atkinson. 

Photo emerges of protester climbing Big Ben


One journalist appears to have found a photo of the Extinction Rebellion activist scaling Big Ben. 

Extinction Rebellion protester dressed as Boris Johnson climbs Big Ben scaffolding 


A protester who appeared to be dressed as Boris Johnson has climbed the Big Ben scaffolding near the Palace of Westminster in London.


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Protester dressed as Boris Johnson spotted climbing up Big Ben 


A protester dressed as Boris Johnson has been spotted climbing up the scaffolding on Big Ben. It is not known whether they are part of the Extinction Rebellion protests. 

Police clear protesters chained to Kenyan embassy 


Police have reportedly begun to remove protesters chained to the Kenya High Commission in London. 



Protesters to gather in Trafalgar Square


Extinction Rebellion have now asked protesters to gather in Trafalgar Square. A large number of police are reportedly already gathered at the site. 

Arrests rise to nearly 1,800


Nearly 1,800 Extinction Rebellion protesters have been arrested as of 2pm today, police said. 

Police guard protesters outside the Treasury

Police are pictured watching over the Red Rebel Brigade outside the Treasury in Westminster. 


Steve Coogan: ‘Anyone who is against the movement is motivated purely by the bottom line’


Actor Steve Coogan is among the protesters taking part in the “red-handed” march. 


He told PA that Extinction Rebellion was “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,” he said. 

(Extinction Rebellion)


“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.”

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


Some protesters are staging a sit in by the front of Downing Street. 

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?”

‘Red-handed’ protesters sit down at Whitehall 


Activists with their hands painted red are pictured sitting on the ground at Whitehall. 

Oxford Circus reopened after protesters cleared


The last of the protesters have been cleared in Oxford Circus and the roads have now reopened, TFL said. 



Hand prints appear on treasury buildings


The march has now reached the Treasury building where protesters have left their red hand prints. But it’s rather less fake blood than the time the group sprayed the front of the building with a fire hose. 



How to leave your mark 


Extinction Rebellion protesters have issued a handy guide to protesters on how to mark their hand prints on government buildings. However some people don’t agree it’s the safest approach. 


Protesters begin printing hands on government buildings 


One protester has allegedly been arrested for printing their red painted hand on a statue.