'Extinction Rebellion has staged a blockade in Dalston, east London, disrupting traffic at its busiest central junction. Car horns, sirens and swearing competed with drumming protesters, singing and hula dancing. On Saturday the group kicked off a weekend of activity ahead of its summer uprising this week, which aims to disrupt five major UK cities and shock people into action against the climate crisis.
About 50 protesters lined the road with banners reading “thank you for your patience” and “sorry for the disruption” in the hope of placating the public for the seven-minute intervals during which they blocked traffic. Some drivers were bored, others were furious.
“It’s unfuckingbelievable. Fucking peasants, arseholes – you lot take the fucking piss,” shouted the driver of a truck from a recycling and waste management company. He told the protesters his clients were waiting and that his job was at risk.
Tiranthe Amarasinghe, a “conscientious protector” who works in financial services, engaged him in a chat about Extinction Rebellion’s aims. “Nothing changes anyway, we’re fucked, none of this will work, mate,” insisted the driver.
Extinction Rebellion’s east London uprising was three months in the planning. The group staged simultaneous events throughout Saturday – a traffic block hailed “a swarm” at the Olympic park, a critical mass bike ride down the A10, a people’s assembly outside Hackney town hall and an all-day gathering at London Fields of talks and panels. Amarasinghe was keen to stress the latter was not a party or festival.'
Read more: Extinction Rebellion kick off weekend of protest with Dalston blockade
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