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Extinction Rebellion to target London's 'institutions of power' in new protests

LONDON (Reuters) - Climate activists will target Britain’s parliament and other institutions of power next week when it restarts large-scale protests for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, organisers Extinction Rebellion said on Thursday.

The group said small-scale, regional protests would take place over the coming weekend ahead of larger scale demonstrations in London, Cardiff and Manchester, which it expects to continue for a couple of weeks.

“In London, we’re going to be gathering in Parliament Square, and around parliament on (Sept) 1st,” Extinction Rebellion organiser Anneka Sutcliffe said in an online briefing.

“In the following few days we’ll be taking our action to other key institutions of power to really demonstrate the harm that our government are doing.”

Extinction Rebellion say an emergency response and mass move away from polluting industries and behaviours is needed to avert a looming climate cataclysm.

The group called off major protests planned for May as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, saying that the need to protect public health meant large gatherings could not be justified.

With Britain now past the peak of the pandemic, organisers pointed to the re-opening of pubs and other social activities as evidence that protests could now go ahead, adding that social distancing would be encouraged.

Extinction Rebellion said it was targeting parliament with the aim of getting backing for a ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill’ and a ‘Citizens’ Assembly’, and was not put off by the threat of heavy new fines for gatherings.

In July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the protestors should be “jumping for joy” given the government’s record on climate change.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Marc Jones

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