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500 arrested as the climate protest grows

Scenic spot: Protesters’ tents pitched outside Westminster Abbey PICTURE: REX

ACTIVISTS glued themselves to the Department for Transport on the second day of climate protests in London, as the number arrested hit 500.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators also attached themselves to the underside of a lorry they had used to block a road outside the Home Office.

About 200 were thought to have spent the night camping out nearby in tents, including at Westminster Abbey.

Law: Public Order Act is read to activist

The group warned its ‘biggest action of the rebellion’ will be a bid to occupy London City Airport tomorrow. A briefing note read: ‘Over 100 rebels are coming already including several co-founders of XR. This is going to be HUGE!!!’

Protesters told police they were prepared to be arrested for failing to comply with orders to move to a single site at Trafalgar Square.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has called them ‘unco-operative crusties’.

Claudia Fisher, 57, from Brighton, said: ‘We are a little bit crusty, I’ll put my hands up to it, after a night sleeping out on the grounds of Whitehall, but we’re not unco-operative. We’re actually very co-operative.’

Former Metropolitan Police detective John Curran, who had camped out overnight, said he was willing to be arrested again after being detained by officers during similar action in April.

The 49-year-old, who has a three-year-old daughter and now makes guitars for a living in Oxford, agreed the protests could be frustrating for police. But his message to ministers was: ‘Take action and we won’t have to be here.’ NHS manager Mike Gumn camped out wearing a suit and flat cap to illustrate that the demonstrators are ‘from all different walks of life, not just people you would call hippies’.

‘I have taken annual leave to be here. I’d rather be with my family,’ added the 33-year-old from Bristol.

Meanwhile, animal rights activists left an overnight protest outside the UK’s largest meat market, Smithfield.

The Animal Rebellion group reportedly went off to join their Extinction Rebellion allies in Westminster. Trading had continued as they pitched tents and set up fruit and veg stalls.