Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at Saturday’s “sit down” protestJoel Penrose

Joel Penrose, a second-year History and Modern Languages student, was arrested at an Extinction Rebellion protest in London on Saturday (9/4). 

Protesters marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. They passed through Oxford Street and Regent Street while staging a series of “sit downs” en route, blocking the flow of traffic for several hours.

Joel was arrested at Trafalgar Square for obstructing the highway. He told Varsity that he was released from Charing Cross police station in the early hours of Sunday morning, “well after the last trains out from London.” He spent the night “killing time” in the city before catching the first train home at 6.30am.

The protest was reportedly attended by some 8,000 people.

Similar protests took place on Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges on Sunday, during which the Metropolitan Police say they made a total of 38 arrests.


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When describing how it felt to be arrested, Joel told Varsity: “I just felt sad. Sad it had come to this”. 

Explaining his reasons for being at the protest, he said: “It really is now or never. The latest IPCC report is very clear: we need to peak emissions by 2025 or it’s game over. The government simply hasn’t accepted that. Their energy strategy flies in the face of science.”

Joel added: “One person sitting in the road won’t make a difference, but 1,000 might. 10,000 might. 100,000 definitely would”.

The fresh action comes as the government has ordered increased drilling of oil and natural gas in the North Sea to combat rising energy bills.

Extinction Rebellion has faced criticism for their tactics. They have in the past forced ambulances to take diversions  and prevented lorries from getting to printworks, delaying the publication of newspapers. 

They plan to cause more disruption everyday this week and for at least the next three weekends, vowing to “block areas of the city for as long as possible”.

This article was updated on 13/4 at 20.50 to include details of Joel Penrose’s release.