Emma Thompson joins peaceful climate protest in London

British actress Emma Thompson, center, gestures as police surround the pink boat being used as a stage by climate change activists as they occupy the road junction at Oxford Circus in central London on Friday during the fifth day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group. — AFP

LONDON — Film star Emma Thompson joined climate change activists in central London on Friday to read poetry praising Earth’s bounties, part of a series of protests which have caused transport snarl-ups in the British capital.

Organizers Extinction Rebellion have called for non-violent civil disobedience to force the British government to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and stop what they call a global climate crisis.

The protests did not cause travel disruption on Friday during one of Britain’s main holiday weekends, but police said they have arrested more than 570 people so far this week.

Extinction Rebellion has blocked several locations in central London this week after staging a semi-nude protest in parliament earlier this month.

“Our planet is in serious trouble,” Thompson said.

“We are here in this island of sanity and it makes me so happy to be able to join you all and to add my voice to the young people here who have inspired a whole new movement,” said Thompson, one of Britain’s most acclaimed actresses who has won two Academy awards.

She was one of several actors who read poems celebrating the beauty of nature from a pink boat lodged by the protesters at Oxford Circus in central London.

The protesters formed a human chain around the boat, which officials say has been locked to the ground, making it extremely difficult for police to remove.

Thompson’s appearance followed a demonstration near Heathrow Airport earlier, where a group of around a dozen teenagers, some as young as 13 and 14, held a banner alongside a busy road which read: “Are we the last generation?”

Some of the teenagers wept and hugged each other, although they were far outnumbered by police.

“I fear for my future” Oscar Idle, 17, told Reuters at Heathrow. “That fear gives me courage to act.”

“I want to live in a society which is not catastrophic, where there is not going to be food shortages, wild fires and hurricanes where people can live,” he said. — Reuters