Doctors join climate change protest to warn of health dangers

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More than 100 healthcare professionals have joined the sixth day of climate change protests in London.

Doctors, nurses and medical students were among those demonstrating at Jubilee Gardens, near oil giant Shell’s London HQ, on Saturday in the “Health March for the Planet”.

Several protesters leading the crowd wore hospital face masks, while others carried Extinction Rebellion flags and signs reading: “Climate change is a health issue.”

Extinction Rebellion protests
Doctors and other health workers took part in the protest in London’s Jubilee Gardens (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Alex Turner, 36, a paediatric and emergency doctor from Bristol who was wearing his blue scrubs and stethoscope, said: “We are meeting outside Shell because they are one of the biggest companies involved in the oil and energy industry, and they have real power to decarbonise that industry.

“We are protesting illegal levels of air pollution.”

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Another protester said raising awareness about the effects of climate change on health is part of their “duty of care as healthcare professionals”.

Scotland Yard’s latest figures show 1,290 arrests have been made so far in connection with Extinction Rebellion protests in the capital this week.

Extinction Rebellion protesters
Those taking part said it is their duty of care to warn of the health dangers climate change poses (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Belgium’s Princess Esmeralda was among those arrested after she joined a sit-in protest in Trafalgar Square on Thursday.

Princess Esmeralda Dereth, the daughter of the late Leopold III of Belgium and his second wife Lilian Baels, Princess of Rethy, says she was taken into a police van for questioning and held for around five hours.

The 63-year-old said in a Twitter post: “Today along with many other protesters I was arrested and put in police custody. The climate emergency calls on all of us to put pressure on governments to act with urgency.”

Extinction Rebellion protests
Doctors and nurses took part dressed in their scrubs (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Meanwhile, former Paralympic cyclist James Brown appeared in court on Saturday morning charged with causing a public nuisance during the group’s protest at London City Airport on Thursday.

The 55-year-old, who is visually impaired, is accused of climbing on top of a British Airways plane and gluing himself to it, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

Brown denied causing a public nuisance and is due to stand trial on November 8.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Brown, of Magdalen Road, Exeter, said: “I am not denying what I did, but I was compelled to do what I did because of my concerns for the future of my children.

“We also know that non-violent civil disobedience has proven itself time and time in history to bring about radical social change, and that is exactly what we need right now to divert us from this catastrophic path we are on.”

District Judge John Zani granted Brown conditional bail, prohibiting him from going within one mile of any airport in the UK.

James Brown court case
Former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, 55, outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (Luke Powell/PA)

Earlier on Saturday, police arrested members of Animal Rebellion after they staged a demonstration at Billingsgate Fish Market in Poplar, London.

The animal rights group stopped traffic from entering the market, leading to multiple arrests.

The Metropolitan Police said 23 arrests had been made at Billingsgate as of 9.30am.

A spokesman said 22 of those arrests were for failing to comply with a condition imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986.

One person was also arrested for aggravated trespass, the Met said.

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