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'Extinction Rebellion' again brings London traffic to standstill

By Clyde Hughes
'Extinction Rebellion' again brings London traffic to standstill
"Extinction Rebellion" activists rally on April 23 in London's Parliament Square. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

June 14 (UPI) -- Traffic in central London slowed to a halt again Friday, as environmental activists staged another "Extinction Rebellion" aimed at fighting the advances of climate change.

Protesters blocked traffic during the morning rush hour with sit-ins at the A20 road, about 5 miles southeast of downtown London, the A205 South Circular in Catford and the A2 in Deptford.

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The same movement clogged traffic for several days in April, blocking city landmarks and threatening to shut down public transportation in the city. The goal then, and now, is to get British lawmakers to take more proactive steps to limit carbon emissions.

Friday's protests underscored dangerous levels in air pollution London already faces. Protesters said their disruption is the first of several plans to call for environmental actions.

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"The idea was to stop traffic temporarily to put pressure on all of our politicians ... [London Mayor] Sadiq Khan and the government -- to confront the air pollution crisis," activist Lorna Greenwood said.

"There was some backlash, but not as much as you would expect because people in the area know how bad the problem is."

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A study last month by the European Heart Journal said current air pollution levels in Europe cut about 2.2 years off life expectancy each year. That analysis concluded that replacing fossil fuels with "clean, renewable energy sources" could substantially reverse that trend.

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Extinction Rebellions have targeted multiple cities since last year, including Berlin, Madrid and Pretoria, South Africa.

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