Three arrested as thousands join climate change protest in Birmingham

Police said a climate change protest by Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop activists passed ‘largely without incident’

West Midlands Police arrested three people during a climate change protest in Birmingham city centre on Friday (March 1).

Thousands took to the streets to demonstrate about the dangers of fossil fuels - urging insurance companies to take immediate action to use clean energy. Police said attended the protest in order to help the demonstrators move through the city safely and that it passed largely without incident.

The protest, with activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Just Stop Oil, was part of a global week of action organised by the Insure Our Future Network which is running until Sunday (March 3). Grassroots groups and activists from across the world are coming together in a series of events to demand action in the UK, USA, Japan, South Korea, Uganda, DRC, Switzerland, France, Peru, Colombia, Germany, and Czechia. 

Demands to the insurance industry include immediately stopping insuring new fossil fuel projects, phasing out support for existing coal, oil and gas projects, respecting human rights and supporting a just transition. 

In Birmingham, the climate change activists gathered in Victoria Square and then marched to the local offices of several insurance businesses. There were speeches and performances, including XR samba drummers, illustrating the consequences of financial support for fossil fuels. The event concluded with a ‘lie in’ in Victoria Square.

What did West Midlands Police say about the climate change protest?

As WMP spokesperson said: “Thankfully the demonstration was largely peaceful with limited disruption to the city centre. We always seek to find the right balance between the rights of protestors and those of local residents and businesses, while working to minimise serious disruption to communities.

“We hope that the public and businesses in the city felt reassured by our presence today and felt very little disruption to their day.  Despite the largely peaceful nature of the demonstration, there were three arrests made.

“Officers used powers under the Section 11 Public Order Act which gives officers the additional power to carry out suspicion-less stop and searches linked to protest activity. The arrests were as a result of the powers being used.”

Here is our photo gallery from the protest - all photos are from Extinction Rebellion:

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