PROTESTERS from Wharfedale have been taking part in an Extinction Rebellion protest that has blocked traffic in Leeds.

Extinction Rebellion activists installed a boat and protest camp on Victoria Bridge on Monday, July 15 as part of what it described as a five-day ‘summer uprising’.

Similar actions are also being held in Cardiff, London, Bristol and Glasgow with the protest in each city focusing on a different aspect of the environmental crisis.

Extinction Rebellion says its Leeds action, which it plans to continue all week, is intended ‘to shine a spotlight on the role of Leeds’ financial sector in financing polluting investments in fracking, coal and other dirty technologies’.

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West), whose constituency includes Otley, joined the protesters on the bridge on Monday to show his support.

Posting on his Twitter account, he said: “In my maiden speech two years ago I said ‘Action to combat climate change will give us the best possible chance to save this planet, because it is the only home that we have got.’

“So I am at @ExtinctionR in Leeds this morning supporting them in the face of a #ClimateEmergency.”

Protester Alex Evans, who lives near Otley, said: “My eldest child is nine years old.

“For each of those nine years I’ve watched her future get steadily worse while everyone waits for everyone else to do something on climate change.

“Now we’re out of time and we can see climate breakdown all around us.

“Enough’s enough: it’s time to act now.”

The same phrase, ‘Act Now’, is actually one of the slogans that has been painted on the yellow protest boat - with the message ‘Planet Before Profit’ appearing on the other side.

The action is causing traffic disruption in Leeds and First Bus has announced that diversions will be in place all week for buses that travel over Victoria Bridge - which connects Neville Street to Victoria Road - if the protest lasts as expected.

The demonstrators are committed to saying on the bridge overnight for the five days, when they will be sleeping in tents.

Many have said they are willing to risk arrest for taking part in a campaign of civil disobedience that is intended to spur politicians to act over the increasingly urgent issue of climate change.

Sara Han, who teaches at the University of Leeds, said: “As a lecturer who is preparing young people for their future, it is clear that that future is increasingly uncertain.

“I care deeply about the prospects of our future generations and want to see meaningful action to address the climate emergency right now.”