PROTESTERS dropped a banner warning of the 'collapse of civilisation' inside the Westgate Centre as they staged another unruly protest on Saturday morning. 

The activists - from the Extinction Rebellion group - occupied a part of the shopping centre for around 45 minutes on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. 

At around 11.30am, the group marched down from Carfax into the Westgate, ignoring warnings from security, and unfurled flags and placards before dropping the banner from the mezzanine floor. 

Quoting famed broadcaster David Attenborough, it called on decision makers to 'act now'.

Police, who said they had had prior warning about the action, were on the scene quickly but stuck to the sidelines and did not intervene. 

One officer told the Oxford Mail that he wanted to facilitate peaceful protest while ensuring no shoppers were disrupted in going about their daily lives. 

Ben Kemward, one of the protestors, said: "Non disruptive methods have been going on for decades. 

"We will continue to be disobedient until we see action being taken. 

"Our authorities need to take this seriously. We have been asking them nicely to think long and hard about what they can do. 

"We want people to go home and talk to their friends - tell them what they saw when they were shopping.

"The more people who are thinking and talking about this, the more likely it is that the Government will have to take action."

Oxford Mail:

The action was the latest in a string of similar protests - inspired by groups in London - including a blockade of the Botley Road last month. 

Noisy demonstrators also camped outside the BBC yesterday because they felt the broadcaster is not doing enough to raise environmental awareness. 

Westgate staff said they couldn't speak to the media but were heard telling the protestors that they felt it was an important cause. 

After negotiations, the group agreed to move on and walked through the ground floor of the centre chanting before dispersing. 

Oxford Mail:

Many last minute Christmas shoppers stopped to see what was going on and gave a mixed reaction to the events. 

One woman, who didn't want to give her name, said she was supportive. 

She said: "It is our lives, it is our children's lives. We're all here marching around as though nothing is going on when we have serious environmental problems to face.

"I don't know how much difference it will make but good on them for doing something."


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Oxford Mail:

But Dave Brown from Brill, near Thame said he didn't think it was appropriate. 

He said: "I think it is a bit disruptive. 

"I am not saying they do not have a right to do it but there is a time and a place.

"Given this is one of the most important days of the year for the shops, I don't think it is the best timing."