Tower Bridge has been closed to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians this morning (8 April), due to protests by climate activists Extinction Rebellion.
At 7am today, the climate action group hung a 22m-long banner from the bridge, demanding: 'End fossil fuels now', with two protesters dangling from the bridge by suspension cords, presumably to prevent the bascules being opened up for ships. Flares have also been set off. As of 9.30am, the bridge is still closed to all traffic, and boats cannot pass under it.
This is just the first of several protests planned by Extinction Rebellion over the coming days. The group is calling today the 'Eve of Rebellion'. Tomorrow (Saturday 9 April) is the start of a planned 'April Rebellion', which will see protestors gathering in Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park at 10am every day for at least a week, as well as the following three weekends.
Here, there will be "regular training in nonviolent civil disobedience and resistance tactics before marching into London to block areas of the city for as long as possible".
Exact locations haven't been revealed, but the group is known for targeting areas where their action will cause the most disruption, such as blocking Oxford Circus with a boat back in 2019.
The event page reads: "We will facilitate a mass flood of people to grind the capital to a halt, causing maximum material disruption and making meeting the immediate demand politically unavoidable."
Something to be aware of if you're out and about in London over the next week.
What are Extinction Rebellion protesting for?
The aim of all these protests? Pretty much what the Tower Bridge banner says — Extinction Rebellion wants to "shut down the fossil economy". Basically they want us to stop relying on — and the government to stop investing in — fossil fuels.
A statement on the Extinction Rebellion UK website reads "Our disruption will not stop until the fossil fuel economy comes to an end."