Topless protesters distract lawmakers during Brexit debate
Around a dozen climate change activists stripped down to their underwear and glued their hands to various surfaces in the House of Commons’ public gallery as lawmakers debated Monday’s vote on Brexit alternatives on the floor of the Chamber below.
The protestors, who had slogans like “stop wasting time” painted on their chests, were attempting to draw “politicians’ attention to the climate and ecological crisis,” environmental group Extinction Rebellion said in a statement.
Speaker of the House John Bercow told lawmakers to press on with the debate.
Conservative MP Nick Boles made light of the situation, joking whether it was a “coincidence” that among his colleagues were “noted naturists.”
“But, Mr Speaker, it has long been a thoroughly British trait to be able to ignore pointless nakedness and I trust that the House will now be able to return to the issue that we are discussing,” he added.
“Parliament just got a little more nuts!” tweeted Conservative Party MP James Heappey with a photo of the protesters from the floor of the House.
Extinction Rebellion said “two of the activists wore full grey body paint and elephant masks,” and added the action was inspired by “the suffragettes’ protest in the same building over 100 years ago.”
It took half an hour for the Metropolitan Police to remove and arrest all 12 protestors for “outraging public decency,” Press Association reports.
Extinction Rebellion have staged a number of demonstrations in London in recent months, including the occupation of five bridges in the British capital in November and a street party in East London in February.
“Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by its government,” the group said in a statement.