The siege of the Berta Cáceres started started shortly after noon when police in high-vis jackets surrounded the bright pink boat in Oxford Circus, central London, with two cordons and then steadily peeled off the Extinction Rebellion activists stuck to it.
Officers with angle grinders cut through the bars below the hull of the vessel, named after the murdered Honduran environmental activist, which protesters had chained and glued themselves to.
Five hours later, however, the tables had turned as hundreds of activist reinforcements swarmed into side roads and blocked the end of Regent Street. By 7pm police had managed to move the boat just two streets away, only to find themselves pinned in by more rows of demonstrators singing the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love.
As the Berta Cáceres was attached to a lorry, the crowd chanted: “We have more boats.” After much obstruction the vessel was eventually driven away up Regent Street followed by jogging uniformed officers.
Welcome to the fifth day of the Extinction Rebellion, the escalating but still methodically polite campaign of disruption that has turned several of central London’s best-known locations into a giant game of territorial to-and-fro.
Despite more than 100 arrests on Friday, taking the total to 682 by early evening, the demonstration which has blocked four major London landmarks looked set to continue beyond the weekend, with organisers preparing to extend their disruption on Monday to “picnics on the motorway.”