Six arrested as climate activists block road near UK parliament

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Climate activists blocked a road next to the UK parliament on Tuesday with a Valentine’s-themed protest, before being dragged away by members of the public, as police made six arrests.

Activists from the group Animal Rebellion lit flares as they sat at a table with a candelabra and champagne flutes on the approach to Westminster Bridge in central London.

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One wore a mask with the face of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in a protest against government subsidies for animal farming and fishing. Other activists sat on the road with placards.

“Where is the love in a food system contributing to climate destruction and ecological collapse?” tweeted the group, which campaigns for a “plant-based future.”

Police said they arrested five activists for blocking the road and a sixth person for assaulting a protester.

The activist group posted a video showing several men roughly pulling away the protesters and dragging them along the ground, as a crowd watched and drivers honked horns.

A police officer grappled with a man after he pulled one protester to the side of the road.

Animal Rebellion is an offshoot of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion. It has freed laboratory test dogs, occupied a Michelin-starred restaurant and poured out milk in supermarkets.

The protest came just before fellow climate campaigners Just Stop Oil read out a statement outside Downing Street warning they will “escalate” direct action from April unless Sunak halts all new fossil fuel projects.

Also on Tuesday, Extinction Rebellion and other climate activist groups held protests in various countries against the use of private jets “for supposedly romantic Valentine’s Day dates.”

At Luton Airport north of London, activists locked themselves to a boat and oil barrels, and blocked entrances to private jet terminals.

The airport said the peaceful protest had “no impact on any of our operations.”

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