Nine people were arrested on Saturday including a man who glued himself to Westminster Bridge in London in protest at a lack of government action two years after parliament declared a climate emergency.
It was among a wave of “rebellion of one” protests on Saturday, organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR), in which hundreds of activists blocked roads by sitting alone wearing signs expressing their fears about the future.
Earlier on Saturday police shut Tower Bridge to southbound traffic after Morgan Trowland, 38, attached himself to the crossing.
Trowland, a civil engineer from Hackney, east London, told PA Media: “I’m terrified that billions will die because of the climate crisis, humans and non-humans. I’m freaking out that many people are accepting this, or feel powerless to change the course. I want to show onlookers that we each have phenomenal power.”
Another protester blocked a street in Nottingham while donning a sandwich board reading: “I’m terrified by the horrors that my son will have to endure because of the climate crisis.”
Protests took place in towns and cities across the country, including Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford, Bradford, Newcastle and Swansea.
The nine arrests related to Extinction Rebellion protests in London were in various parts of the city, including on Tower Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, and in Clapham, Haringey, Bromley, Tower Hamlets and Lambeth.
XR said in a statement that the government was moving too slowly on cutting emissions, citing multiple reports finding the UK will miss its targets unless ministers take immediate action.
Announcing its May Day action, the group said: “Rebellion of one fits right in with the tradition of Workers’ Day: coming together dispersed but united in the name of climate & environmental justice.”
The rebellion of one movement is inspired by a Russian activist who blockaded traffic by stepping out on to a multi-lane highway near Moscow, the campaigning group said.
XR’s action coincided with more than 40 protests against the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill which also took place on May Day, mainly focused in London.