Greenpeace activists scaled the 170ft, Nelson’s Column, and many other statues and monuments in London this morning, to protest against dangerously high levels of air pollution.
Starting in the early hours of this morning, the group has stated that it is planning to place breathing masks over 17 different statues around the capital today.
The statues chosen include:
- The Sherlock Holmes statue, near the site of the fictional detective’s home at 221b Baker Street
- The Winston Churchill statue outside the Houses of Parliament
- The statue of footballer Thierry Henry at the Emirates Stadium
- The Queen Victoria statue opposite Buckingham Palace
- Eros in Piccadilly Circus
- The statue of Dr Salter’s daughter in Bermondsey
- The Boudica statue on Westminster Bridge
- The Turning Point statue in Putney
- The Achilles statue in Hyde Park
- Frank Dobson’s London Pride statue on the Southbank
- The Young Dancer statue in Covent Garden
According to the BBC, two demonstrators hopped over a fence and avoided security outside the Houses of Parliament before placing a mask over a statue of political leader, Oliver Cromwell.
However the most shocking and chilling photos have stemmed from the two climbers who managed to get to the top of Nelson’s Column before placing a nautical themed mask over Nelson’s face.
At 4am, Alison Garrigan, 29, and Luke Jones, 30, began climbing the landmark – which led emergency services to later cordon off the area.
Greenpeace said the purpose of the protest was to bring attention to the ‘public health crisis’ of air pollution, and to put pressure on the next Mayor of London to take action.
Campaigner Areeba Hamid said:
Monitoring shows that, if these statutes were real people, many of them would often be breathing dangerous, illegal air.
Since the terror threat in the UK is currently at severe, the fact that numerous activists were able to pull of such stunts, and were able to slip past security at the Houses of Parliament, suggests that the demonstration could pose as a humiliating blow for police and security.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.