October 16, 2019 / 12:07 PM / a month ago

Nursing mothers stage climate protest against Google in London

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Dozens of mothers with babies and young children defied a police ban on climate protests to stage a “nurse-in” outside the offices of Google on Wednesday.

The mothers said they had launched their protest in response to a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper last week that said Google has made “substantial” contributions to climate deniers in Washington despite saying it supports climate action.

“It’s just a terrible betrayal to all the parents, families and children that are suffering as a result of the climate and ecological crisis,” said Lorna Greenwood, one of the organisers of the mass nurse-in.

Google said in the Guardian report: “We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy.”

The mothers, who numbered about 150 according to Greenwood, assembled despite police issuing a ban on protests by the Extinction Rebellion group in London late on Monday.

Police say they have arrested 1,642 people in the capital since Extinction Rebellion launched a fresh wave of civil disobedience on Oct. 7.

The group wants to force governments to take action to tackle climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species by using disruptive tactics such as blocking roads and bridges, and glueing themselves to buildings.

It says at least 1,400 people have also been arrested in 20 cities around the world since last week, with protests taking place in central Brussels, New York, Amsterdam and elsewhere.

The group plans a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square later on Wednesday despite the police ban. The square was cleared of camping protesters earlier in the week.

Amnesty International said the police ban was an “unlawful restriction” on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The police say Extinction Rebellion would be entitled to demonstrate in ways agreed in advance with the authorities.

Critics of Extinction Rebellion say its disruptive tactics might backfire by alienating support for major economic and social changes that scientists say are needed to avoid the worst scenarios predicted by climate models.

Gail Bradbrook, one of the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion, was arrested on Tuesday after climbing on top of a revolving door at the entrance to Britain’s Department of Transport and attempting to smash a window to protest at plans to clear ancient woodland to build a new high-speed rail link.

Bradbrook said after being released on Wednesday that the government should be taking bold action to tackle climate change instead of banning peaceful protests.

“This is a sure sign of a democracy in meltdown,” she told Reuters. “The state’s trying to get rid of the people highlighting the problem.” (Editing by Stephen Addison)

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