Extinction Rebellion to protest against Silvertown Tunnel at O2 Arena

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 February 2020

Extinction Rebellion members are set to protest at Greenwich's 02 arena on Friday against the Silvertown Tunnel plans. Picture: Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion members are set to protest at Greenwich's 02 arena on Friday against the Silvertown Tunnel plans. Picture: Extinction Rebellion


Extinction Rebellion members have pledged to “wail” as they mourn Londoners who have died from air pollution, in the latest protest action against the planned Silvertown Tunnel.

The climate change activism group, which garnered world-wide media coverage last year following a series of high-profile protests across London, has published plans for its latest protest against the controversial tunnel development.

"Twenty-six people die every day in London as a result of air pollution. London has declared a climate emergency," the group stated on a social media page advertising the protest.

"Yet the mayor has approved a multi-billion pound new road tunnel to bring thousands of HGVs (heavy goods vehicles) under the river between Greenwich and Silvertown. We will meet to grieve the loss of the 26. We will sing a song of protest and wail as we mourn the dead."

The group has appealed for residents to "come and hold the space", sing a protest song, and hand out leaflets as part of a series of actions planned at Greenwich's O2 Arena for Friday.

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"We need you to come and hold the space with us on 21st February, sing the song, and maybe even get involved in the performance or help with any other aspect of the project from handing out leaflets…to giving a talk on the impact of this tunnel," Extinction Rebellion said.

Pop rock band The 1975 are scheduled to play at the stadium that night, with gates to open at 6.30pm.

Friday's action would not be the first time the group has staged a high-profile protest against the plans.

Extenction Rebellion members blocked a slip road off the Blackwall Tunnel in August last year, while last year also saw the group stage a "die-in" at London's City Hall.

Transport for London announced in November the award of the contract to Riverlinx Consortium to design, build, finance and maintain the £1bn tunnel connecting Royal Docks and Greenwich.

Advocates say the project will provide important new routes across the Thames for east London and cut down on traffic jams elsewhere.

However, sceptics have attacked the project for being "outdated" and fear it could have harmful health impacts for residents exposed to air pollution resulting from vehicle congestion around the tunnel.

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