By Cijo Jose
Greenpeace activists carried out an astounding series of stunts in the centre of London on Monday to increase awareness of air pollution and demand government action.
Several campaigners climbed Nelson’s Column in the early hours of the morning. Alison Garrigan, 29, and Luke Jones, 30, ascended Admiral Lord Nelson, towering 52 metres above Trafalgar Square, with an emergency face mask which they placed over his face.
Further stunts were planned across the city at various landmarks which the activists chose to prove a point. Oliver Cromwell’s statue was also dressed with a mask; and police were called to the scene at 6am.
The pair came down voluntarily and were arrested along with two others on the scene for breaching existing bylaws under the police reform and social responsibility act 2011, the Met said.
Famous statues of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, Queen Victoria opposite Buckingham Palace and Eros at Piccadilly Circus have also been given targeted in the demonstrations by environmental activists.
Greenpeace are hoping their campaign, which reinforces the increasing danger of air pollution, will persuade the next Mayor of London to take action.
Greenpeace activist Areeba Hamid said: “Monitoring shows that if these statutes were real people, many of them would often be breathing dangerous, illegal air. That’s why we’ve given them face masks.
Many millions of Londoners, including kids, are breathing that same air. Kitting everyone out with face masks is not the solution; instead we need to see real political action from the new Mayor. We need a Clean Air Zone covering a large part of the city.
Whoever wins the election has to stop the talk and start the action.”
In all 17 figures will be seen wearing a mask this morning, including Thierry Henry outside Emirates Stadium and some of London’s most famous statues.