- By Rachel Russell & Darin Graham
- BBC news
Thousands of Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists marked Earth Day with a rally in central London.
Members of the climate team gathered in Parliament Square, in Westminster, on Saturday, for the second day of what they call “The Big One”.
Some wore fancy costumes, including the red robes and masks of King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Chris Packham warned the planet is in “crisis” in a speech to a crowd.
The wildlife presenter told protesters their “mission” was to “build the largest community possible”.
“Our planet is in crisis and if we don’t act we won’t be able to protect that life, including us,” the 61-year-old said.
Jo from Bristol told BBC News he came to the rally because he wanted to “send a message to the government that we are not going to stand still until we change”.
Another protester, a retired nurse, added that “a lot of working health professionals are increasingly seeing the impact of climate change on human health, air quality and temperature”.
The family-friendly protests and marches over the weekend marked a change for the group known for its disruptive tactics, including blocking roads, throwing paint and smashing windows.
Rob Callender, action coordinator for Extinction Rebellion, explained that the group is adopting a new peaceful approach after hearing from the public that disruption “is a roadblock”.
Elsewhere in London, thousands of other activists staged a “death to death” on Saturday by lying on the sidewalk at the Mall as part of an effort to warn of what they say. is the future extinction of humanity due to global warming.
Activists said the “death” showed that “people and nature will not be able to survive if nothing is done on climate change”.
Saturday’s action marks the second of four days of organized protests.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he expects “no disruption by XR or anyone else”.
The group said they have been working with the organizers to ensure the marathon will not be disrupted.