• Activists give London statues gas masks in air pollution protest 20 April 2016 | View comments

  • Nelson’s column scaled in protest directed at air pollution

    Greenpeace protesters climbed onto 17 London monuments in the early hours of Monday, April 20, planting gas masks on the figurine's faces. The stunt was in order to highlight high levels of air pollution in the city. 

    Two activists scaled the 171ft up to Nelsons Column, police were called to the location after 4am as six people were attempting to climb it. They came down at 9am and two people were arrested, a further six people were said to be arrested across London. Statues updated momentarily with the white masks includes Winston Churchill near the Houses of Parliament, Queen Victoria by Buckingham Palace, Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, and Thierry Henry next to the Arsenal Emirates Stadium.

    Greenpeace campaigner Areeba Hamid said: "Monitoring shows that, if these statues were real people, many of them would often be breathing dangerous, illegal air. That's why we've given them face masks. Of course many millions of Londoners, including kids, are breathing that same air."

    "Kitting everyone out with face masks is not the solution; instead we need to see real political action from the new mayor. We need a clean air zone covering a large part of the city. Whoever wins the election has to stop the talk and start the action."

    Isaac Newton @ British Library's piazza

    Proposed ultra low emissions zone in 2020 only offers protection from dangerous air to residents and commuters in zone 1. Ms Hamid said: "At schools across London children are being forced to breathe illegal, dangerous air. Londoners need greener and affordable public transport, along with air pollution alerts and an efficient and adequate system to measure air quality.

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