Dressed in funeral attire, four activists stood on top of a fire engine and sprayed the building in red water, before quickly losing control of the hose and soaking bystanders and the street instead.
Stony-faced, the protestors hung a banner over the fire truck which read, “Stop funding climate death”, while supporters stood nearby with another sign that said: “This is an emergency.”
Police officers arrived on the scene after around 15 minutes, but had to wait for a climbing team to remove the activists – including an 82-year-old – from the engine. All four protesters have been arrested, according to the Met Police’s Twitter.
“Police were called at 10:17 to Horse Guards Rd #SW1,” the tweet read. “People on a privately owned fire engine had sprayed a liquid at the Treasury building. No reported injuries. Three men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Local road closures are in place while police deal.”
Speaking to the Guardian, activist Mark Ovland said he was prepared to be jailed for the action. “There needs to be a real wake-up in terms of the money being spent by the government,” he told the newspaper. “Decisions being made in this building are going towards a non future. We’re funding billions in fossil fuel subsidies and carbon intensive projects, and we just need a rethink otherwise we’re in serious danger.”
Today’s protest comes ahead of XR’s ‘International Rebellion’ which begins on Monday (October 7) and, according to a press release, will see thousands of people shut down capital cities across the world as they demand immediate action in the face of the climate emergency. The UK branch of the group will reportedly block all routes into Westminster for two weeks, with XR inviting everyone to join, as long as they’re willing to be arrested.