Video and pix: Campaigners block York roads to demand action on climate change

One of the protesters leading the chant on Ouse Bridge. Photographs: Richard McDougall

Protesters blocked two busy York roads to draw attention to the imminent threat posed by climate change.

The demonstration brought traffic to a standstill first on Pavement and then on Ouse Bridge on Friday (November 23).

Watched by a significant but low-key police presence, the protests shut the roads for an agreed ten minutes at a time.

The protest as it happened

Our live video shows how the protest unfolded as campaigners took their protest from St Helen’s Square, through the city centre to Pavement, then Ouse Bridge

Campaigners chanted “What do we want? Climate justice”. Some passers-by voiced their support, others berated them for taking direct action.

Organised by Extinction Rebellion York – the city branch of the same movement which has shut down parts of London this week – the protest was said to be just the beginning of their campaign.

“We are in a climate emergency. This is the future for everyone,” said one of the organisers, Merry Dickinson.

“The disruption we cause today is insignificant in the face of what is coming if we don’t take action right now.”

Council demo

They then took their protest to City of York Council’s West Offices HQ. They chanted outside the building until word reached them that council director Neil Ferris and Cllr Andrew Waller, who leads on the environment, would talk to them.

One of the demands of the group is that York council “recognises that we are in a climate emergency, and brings its policies in line with this, including but not limited to going carbon neutral by 2025”.

After the meeting Cllr Waller told YorkMix said that the council had already reduced its carbon emissions by 25%.

He favoured working with partners, including the Leeds City Region, to do more – as well as lobbying the Government to ensure national policies that curbed global warming CO2.

“I can understand how passionate they feel,” Cllr Waller said of the protesters. “We encourage them to engage with the democratic process and register to speak at council meetings.”

Protest in pictures