Who Are The Climate Protesters Being Arrested In London?

Continued protests led by climate activists have resulted in hundreds of arrests across London -- but who are the group spearheading this movement and what do they believe?

Undeterred by nearly 300 arrests, the protests in central London have entered their second day after campaigners camped overnight.

Thousands of activists have shut down streets in the city's centre, playing music, displaying flags, and conducting artistic demonstrations to draw attention to government inaction on climate change.

Protests are currently unfolding in more than 80 cities, according to the organisers of the movement, Extinction Rebellion.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, released a statement saying that he supports the "passion of all those protesting in London" and admits that it is one of the biggest challenges the government faces.

However, Khan implored that the protesters steer clear of disrupting the tube system, asserting that it would damage their cause and the use of public transport is an important component in fighting carbon emissions.

The protests are set to continue and the group have stated that they are aiming to disrupt central London for up to two weeks.

So, who are Extinction Rebellion and why are they protesting?

Extinction Rebellion (or XR) are an organisation that pride themselves on the use of non-violent civil disobedience "to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse" caused by climate change.

The group began staging protests in October of last year, starting with a 1,500-person demonstration in London's Parliament Square and has since expanded through small branches internationally (Australia has an XR organisation for every state).

A map of their sub-branches shows that XR are heavily distributed throughout Western Europe, North America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

The group called for worldwide demonstrations through a post on their website that begins, "Our leaders have failed us. This twisted system is killing us. It has us headed for extinction. It's time to rebel."

XR have three primary demands: for governments to tell the truth to their citizens about climate change by declaring a "climate and ecological emergency", for greenhouse gas emissions to halt entirely by 2025, and for the establishment of a citizen's assembly to direct matters of climate and ecological justice.

The group assert that the current political state will only continue to lead humanity to disaster as a result of climate change and that it will eventually "kill millions, cause food collapse, and render many more homeless".

In addition to non-violent protests, the group also encourage the use of performance art and the coordination of international conference calls to discuss the grief associated with climate change.