CLIMATE change campaigners will stage a series of visually powerful protests in the region to raise awareness of ongoing damage to the environment.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion will take part in a disruptive ‘die-in demonstration’ at Grey’s Monument on Wednesday evening ahead of events culminating in a mock funeral through the streets of Durham on Saturday.

More than 1,000 campaigners have been arrested since protests began in central London more than a week ago and yesterday Extinction Rebellion marched on Parliament to invite MPs to discuss climate change policies.

Activist Andrea Nader, 55, from Darlington, said: “We have tried conventional routes and the politicians haven't listened.

“We have no option but to use non-violent direct action to make our demands clear.”

Organisers have said the Durham event from 1pm to 3pm, from The Dun Cow on Old Elvet, is being held to mourn the loss of species, humans and the planet and will be carried out to sound of a drum beat.

A spokeswoman for Durham Constabulary said: “We are aware of protests taking place in Durham on Saturday.

“Durham Constabulary will, as always, uphold the right to peaceful protest while working to ensure there is as little disruption to the local community as possible.”

Durham City MP Roberta Blackman-Woods said climate change is one of the most important issues that the world is facing today.

She said: “I welcome that the Extinction Rebellion event planned for April 27 is a chance for young people in Durham to have their voices heard.

“I understand that this will be a short, peaceful march through the city and I fully support the message that it is vital that we act now to deal with climate change. If I get the opportunity, I will try and drop by to show my support.

“It’s really important that we continue to challenge the Government to push climate change further up the political agenda. I have spoken on the need for action in Parliament many times, and will continue to do so as often as I can.”

Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said climate change is not just a threat but ‘arguably already with us’.

He said: “As a council, we have always said we would do what we could practically do.

“The targets we have set as a council are ones we feel can achieve and we have already achieved a substantial carbon emissions reduction. We have always taken this seriously as a serious issue.

“People have always got a legal right to protest peacefully and it is always important that it should be within the law.”

The event in Newcastle on Wednesday is from 6pm to 6.30pm and on Thursday a talk, entitled Climate Change: Heading for Extinction and What To Do About It, is being held at Jesmond Library, Newcastle, from 6pm.

On Friday, there will be delays in Newcastle city centre due to a ‘Bicycle Go-Slow’ from 7am to 9am, from the Central Station, continuing on to St Mary’s Cathedral, Westgate Road, Swan House roundabout, Tyne Bridge and Gateshead Civic centre.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “We have a duty to appropriately and proportionately police protests, and we respect the rights of people to hold such events.

“Ensuring the safety of the public is our utmost priority, and the Force has extensive experience of policing such events.

“We always look to work closely with the organisers to ensure any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum, as well as offer reassurance to members of the public.”

Extinction Rebellion was established last year in the UK and is calling for decisive global action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world.

The group’s key demands are:

- The Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.

- The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.

- A national Citizens’ Assembly must be created to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

William Cooke, 36, former teacher and member of Extinction Rebellion, said: “Our politicians are bickering amongst themselves like spoilt children.

“They are refusing to compromise because they are more interested in their own needs than ours.

“They are wasting time that we do not have. The elephant in the room is climate change and it is being ignored.”