Activists say 28 people were arrested after trying to block access to London fish market
Police have announced they have made almost 1,300 arrests of Extinction Rebellion protesters since Monday, as activists hope the weekend will swell their numbers for a march through central London.
Animal rights activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion claimed 28 of their supporters were arrested on Saturday morning while attempting to block access to Billingsgate fish market in east London.
On Saturday, the groups activists are hoping supporters who have been unable to attend demonstrations and actions during the week will join a protest march gathering at Marble Arch from 1.30pm.
Others headed to Westminster magistrates court earlier, where the Paralympian James Brown denied causing a public nuisance by climbing on top of a passenger plane at London City airport on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters remained camped in Trafalgar Square, where police were continuing efforts to remove them from their final roadblock in Westminster, and at a new camp site in Vauxhall.
Activists were hopeful that Lambeth council, which has declared a climate emergency, would allow them to use Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens as a safe space for up to a week and had planned a programme of workshops and events for campers and visitors.
Early on Saturday morning, protesters from Extinction Rebellions Animal Rebellion chapter sat down to block the entrance to Billingsgate, the UKs largest inland fish market, while one demonstrator locked herself to the entrance, a statement from the group said.
About 200 protesters who had gathered in Canary Wharf began their protest at about 3.30am, according to the group.
Police initially tried to prevent them from reaching the market but relented after negotiations, the group said. Billingsgate management refused a request to enter into a dialogue, according to protesters.
The Metropolitan police said there had been 1,290 arrests in connection with Extinction Rebellion protests as of 9.30am on Saturday, but did not respond to a request for comment on the demonstration.
Kerri Waters, a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion, said: To many, eating fish is seen as the healthy choice. But just as land animals suffer, so do fish, who think, make friends and feel pain. But their suffering goes unnoticed.
At Londons Billingsgate market, thousands of fish, stolen daily from their ocean homes, lie dead or dying. Many will have suffocated slowly when pulled aboard fishing vessels, whilst thousands of others remain alive as theyre transported by lorry to the market, where theyll be gutted or boiled alive.
Another spokesperson for the group, Alex Lockwood, said: It was our duty to come here and make these demands that we must transition to a sustainable food system and stop exploiting the millions of fish that pass through this market every year.