LONDON (Reuters) – About 150 mothers with babies and young children defied a police ban on climate protests to stage a “nurse-in” outside the London offices of Google on Wednesday, while activists launched a parallel protest at the premises of its subsidiary YouTube.
The mothers said they were acting in response to a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper last week that said Google has made “substantial” contributions to climate deniers in Washington despite saying it supports climate action.
“It’s just a terrible betrayal to all the parents, families and children that are suffering as a result of the climate and ecological crisis,” said Lorna Greenwood, one of the organizers of the mass nurse-in.
Google said in the Guardian report: “We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organizations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy.”
The mothers gathered despite police banning protests by the Extinction Rebellion group in London, which has been widely ignored by activists.
Separately, about five Extinction Rebellion volunteers scaled the entrance to YouTube’s London office and unfurled a banner that said: “YouTube Stop Platforming Climate Denial.”
Extinction Rebellion Youth, a group affiliated with the main movement, accused YouTube, which is owned by Google, of offering a disproportionate platform to people who dispute the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels.
“This is not about censorship of individuals’ freedom of speech: it is about preventing YouTube being exploited by fossil fuel companies seeking to warp the public debate in their favor,” it said.
Police said on Wednesday they had arrested 1,642 people in London since Extinction Rebellion launched a wave of civil disobedience on Oct. 7.
Extinction Rebellion wants to force governments to take bold action to tackle climate change and the accelerating loss of plant and animal species by using disruptive tactics such as blocking roads and bridges, and glueing themselves to buildings.
Hundreds of the group’s supporters gathered for a rally in London’s Trafalgar Square on Wednesday despite the police ban. The square was cleared of camping protesters earlier in the week.
Police made further arrests on the adjacent street of Whitehall, where Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked the road.
Hundreds more protesters gathered outside the London office of News Corp to demand newspapers owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, including the Times and Sunday Times, do more to inform readers about the dangers posed by climate change.
Editing by Stephen Addison and Angus MacSwan