Protest reaches highest level of Parliament

Associated Press / October 12, 2009

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LONDON - Several dozen environmental activists stood atop Britain’s Parliament building yesterday in a protest meant to draw attention to climate change.

Greenpeace said 55 of its members were atop the building, where they could be seen holding yellow banners reading, “Change the politics; save the climate.’’ One flew a giant flag from a turret in the shadow of the Big Ben clock tower.

The group said the protesters scaled the neo-Gothic, 19th-century landmark using ladders and ropes.

It said they planned to stay overnight so that they could welcome lawmakers, who were to return from their summer break today.

The Metropolitan Police said 20 or 30 people were on the roof of Parliament’s Westminster Hall. There were no immediate arrests.

“We are here to remind them that they simply haven’t done enough to stop climate change and we need to see some action at home,’’ protester Anna Jones, 28, said via a cellphone from the rooftop.

The demonstrators want legislators to sign a 12-point climate manifesto calling for steep cuts in carbon emissions and investment in renewable energy.

Britain has vowed to reduce its carbon emission by 34 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels.

Today, Parliament’s Climate Change Committee is due to issue a report assessing how the government is doing on reducing emissions, meeting carbon budgets, and building a low-carbon economy.

Security in the Houses of Parliament - home to both the House of Commons and House of Lords - has been tightened following a spate of intrusions in recent years.