Tyne & Wear

Extinction Rebellion activists in Tyne Bridge cycle protest

Extinction Rebellion protest in Newcastle
Image caption Protesters gathered outside Newcastle Central Station

Climate change protesters from Extinction Rebellion have taken part in a "slow cycle ride" which caused some disruption in Newcastle.

An estimated 70 cyclists, and others on foot carrying placards, left Newcastle Central Station just after 07:30 BST.

They crossed the Tyne Bridge and gathered for a rally in Gateshead.

Earlier this week the group held a "die in" in Newcastle city centre and had been involved in two weeks of protests in London.

Image caption Extinction Rebellion want the UK to reduce carbon emissions to zero
Image caption Protesters made a loop of Newcastle city centre before heading for the Tyne Bridge
Image caption The protesters crossed the Tyne Bridge from Newcastle to Gateshead

BBC Look North political reporter Luke Walton said the protest was "very peaceful" with no signs of major disruption to commuters.

Annie Highfield, from Extinction Rebellion North East, said almost all those taking part were from the region.

She said: "We are bringing things north because it's an issue for everyone, not just those in London.

"We're doing a couple of loops around the city before going over the Tyne Bridge to end outside Gateshead Council, where we want a climate emergency called.

"We are a peaceful group and we apologise to people travelling around, but other peaceful protests haven't worked, so we have to take this type of action to get our message across.

"The disruption up here won't be on a scale that it was in London."

Northumbria Police said officers were monitoring the protest. There have so far been no arrests.

Newcastle taxi driver Paul Robinson said he understood why the action was taking place.

He said: "We live in a city where there is a lot of pollution.

"Maybe the council could do more to cut emissions or design better roads."

Image caption Police were on hand to ensure the protest passed off peacefully
Image caption The protest travelled south from Newcastle to Gateshead across the Tyne Bridge

Extinction Rebellion is urging the government to "tell the truth" about the scale of the climate crisis. It wants the UK to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and a Citizens' Assembly set up to oversee the changes needed to achieve this.

A government spokesman said it was going further than any of the world's most developed countries to prevent damage to the environment.

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