EXTINCTION Rebellion London protesters have been blasted as “hypocrites” after they were pictured queuing up in McDonald’s as they brought the capital to a standstill.
Londoners are braced for a second day of travel hell today after the climate change activists closed major roads and bridges on the first day of a fortnight of action.
Last night Boris Johnson dismissed the protesters as “uncooperative crusties” who should abandon their “hemp-smelling bivouacs” and stop blocking roads.
Activists camped overnight inside the 800-year-old Smithfield Market in London and held a minute’s silence for all the animals which had been butchered there over the years.
However they were branded hypocritical when a number of eco-warriors were seen popping into McDonald’s, which boasts that it sells 75 hamburgers every second.
Tory MP Ben Bradley said: “Capitalism is killing us all!! We should stop eating meat!! Right then guys, let’s knock off. Maccy Ds anyone!?”
“The lack of self-awareness is absolutely staggering”.
Londoner Adam Brooks tweeted: “Almost all McDonald’s toys are plastic and wrapped in plastic. They are the poster company of capitalism. They contribute to world litter on a massive scale. The amount of beef they buy worldwide…staggering”.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan slammed the group on Good Morning Britain, saying: “The hypocrisy that comes with these people…they went to McDonald’s for lunch.
“They are shameless hypocrites going to the epicentre of mass produced food”.
Traders at Smithfield Market also expressed anger about cost to business from the protests.
The protesters set up vegetable stalls to “disrupt the idea that Smithfield must always be a place of death and environmental destruction”.
James Burden said that missing one day of trade would cost the 31 meat companies “millions” of pounds collectively.
Meat and poultry wholesaler Adeel Jamil, 39, said: “It is a big problem. We are losing a lot of customers, because we’re unable to supply them.
“From today’s protests alone we have lost £2000. Manufacturers have stopped sending meat to the market because they are worried the protesters will block it.
“If I don’t get my products, I can’t supply my businesses. If I can’t supply my businesses, I lose trade. It’s simple. We can’t last much longer if it carries on like this”.
Another trader said: “It’s a joke. Vehicles can’t get in to collect the meat and it means we can’t serve as many of our customers. It will cost our business alone £10,000 in one night”.
Extinction Rebellion left large areas of Central London in chaos yesterday.
There were fewer protesters than the 30,000 forecast but they set up roadblocks on Westminster and Lambeth Bridges, Victoria Street, Whitehall, Horse Guards Road and The Mall.
This morning activists began gluing themselves to the Department of Transport headquarters, while a lorry was parked in the middle of the road outside the Home Office with protesters lying under it.
Environmentalists have set up a “village” under Nelson’s Column with its own improvised cycle lane, food stalls and a “well-being sanctuary” for tired or stressed protesters.
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, today said police should be more “pro-active” instead of “standing around the edges” while tents are erected to block roads.
Hundreds of protesters who spent the night camped out in Westminster have been ordered by police to move on or face arrest.
Many of those who blocked Horseferry Road overnight were warned they will be arrested unless they move to nearby Trafalgar Square.
But many said they were prepared to stay in the camp.
Mike Gumn, 33, an NHS manager from Bristol, said: “We will decide as a group when we are going to move, and we are not going to let police tell us when.
“I would not like to get arrested, but if that happens when I am exercising my right to protest and deliver a good life for my children, then I will take it on the chin.”
Protesters were also seen taking part in an interpretive dance session in Trafalgar Square where they were told: “This is how we make a difference…this is how we make a change”.
The Met Police had arrested 319 activists by midnight – far more than the 122 figure of arrests made during the first day of the April protests.
It marked a tougher stance from the police who had come under fire in April when they were filmed larking around with activists on Waterloo Bridge who had caused travel misery to ordinary Londoners.
Last night the Prime Minister tore into the eco-warriors, branding them “importunate nose-ringed climate change protesters”.
Blasting Extinction Rebellion activists as “uncooperative crusties”, the PM called on them to abandon their “hemp-smelling bivouacs” to allow the capital to function smoothly again.
Mr Johnson was speaking at the launch in London of the third volume of Margaret Thatcher’s biography by the former editor of The Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore.
He said the former prime minister had taken the issue of greenhouse gases seriously long before 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was born.
Mr Johnson said: “The best thing possible for the education of the denizens of the heaving hemp-smelling bivouacs that now litter Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park would be for them to stop blocking the traffic and buy a copy of Charles’s magnificent book so that they can learn about a true feminist, green and revolutionary who changed the world for the better.
Mr Johnson said he had been advised by his security staff not to attend last night’s book launch “because they said the road was full of uncooperative crusties and protesters of all kinds littering the road”.
Tory peer Lord Fraser, 63, was today seen confronting the protesters outside his Westminster home – dressed in his dressing gown and slippers.
Lord Fraser waved his fist at the activists who were drumming up and down his street.
He said: “I’d had enough of the noise and disruption. It’s intimidating”.
Protesters yesterday shut down roads around Parliament and Whitehall.
A funeral hearse with “our future” painted on a coffin inside was used to block the road at Trafalgar Square.
Inside the driver had chained his head to the car using a bike lock as two others locked themselves under the wheels.
Among the activists in Trafalgar Square were celebrities including model Daisy Lowe, comedian Ruby Wax and actors Juliet Stevenson and Mark Rylance.
In a speech to the crowd, Rylance said: “The collapse of society is certain.”
Specialist officers cut some of the protesters out of a car parked outside the Ministry of Defence.
Two women were married on Westminster Bridge at a ceremony watched by about 100 protesters who sang hymns and said a prayer.
An impromptu cricket game was held outside the Supreme Court on Parliament Square and yoga classes took place on Westminster bridge.
Angry Londoners blasted the activists for targeting the capital again, despite the UK cutting carbon emissions faster than any other G7 nation.
The travel chaos forced pensioner Tony, 65, from Vauxhall, to take two buses and two Tubes to get to St Thomas’s hospital after his normal route was blocked by the eco-warriors.
The OAP has two broken bones in his foot and had to struggle across Westminster Bridge on his crutches to reach the hospital.
Tony, who didn’t want to give his surname, told the Sun Online: “It’s disgraceful. It’s a pity they got rid of Boris Johnson’s water cannons”.
Michael Coleman, from South London, said: “Extinction Rebellion are causing needless aggravation in London today. Crazy…they’ve got nothing better to do than frustrate people and cause needless chaos”.
Over the next fortnight protesters will also target London City Airport, which they will attempt to hold for three days.
Those behind the protest admitted their action could have an impact on St Thomas’s hospital, which sits on the opposite bank of the Thames from the Houses of Parliament.
When asked whether they were worried about disruption at the hospital, activist Savannah Lovelock said that they were “really sorry…but we are running out of time”.
But protesters did stand aside to allow ambulances responding to emergencies to pass.
In July, one man missed his father’s dying moments because Extinction Rebellion had blocked roads in the city.
The monarch could also be affected as the Queen’s Speech takes place on October 14 and is on a route which could have its access blocked.
Major events are also taking place around the world in Australia, in Europe – in Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam – and in the US in New York and Washington DC.
Extinction Rebellion is calling on the Government declare a climate and ecological emergency, act immediately to halt wildlife loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Earlier in the year, Parliament declared a climate and environment emergency and the Government has passed a law to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, far later than the activists are demanding.
The group staged 11 days of protests in London in April that disrupted public transport and roads.
On Thursday Extinction Rebellion activists used a fire engine to hose red liquid at the Treasury to draw attention to what they said was the government’s failure to avert climate disaster.
Last week the Met warned that the protests were taking officers away from other vital roles in the capital including tackling knife crime and domestic violence.
More resources have been used policing climate change protest than focusing on terror, it was said.