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Climate change protesters strip during U.K. Parliament's Brexit debate to demand action

U.K. Parliament tries to solve Brexit crisis

London -- A dozen demonstrators were arrested on Monday after stripping in Britain's House of Commons to protest climate change. The protesters stripped down to their underpants in the public gallery Monday while lawmakers were debating Brexit. Some had slogans including "SOS" and "stop wasting time" written on their bodies.

The group Extinction Rebellion said the protest was an attempt "to draw politicians' attention to the climate and ecological crisis."

Police officers removed the protesters, some of whom had glued their hands to a glass barrier. Police said they were arrested on suspicion of "outraging public decency."

Lawmakers continued debating Brexit, with some making reference to the disruption. Conservative legislator Nick Boles said, "It has long been a thoroughly British trait to be able to ignore pointless nakedness."

Extinction Rebellion activists strip in the House of Commons public gallery in London April 1, 2019, in this still image taken from social media video.
Extinction Rebellion activists strip in the House of Commons public gallery in London April 1, 2019, in this still image taken from social media video. Extinction Rebellion/via Reuters

Mark Øvland, one of the protesters, said in a statement released by Extinction Rebellion that they felt compelled to take the action "because the most important and pressing issue of our time is being flagrantly and recklessly ignored by our government and media. By undressing in parliament, we are putting ourselves in an incredibly vulnerable position, highlighting the vulnerability that all of us share in the face of environmental and societal breakdown."

The group has called for a number of non-violent protest actions in the coming weeks ahead of a massive protest planned for April 15, when "Extinction Rebellion will shut-down central London indefinitely until the government comes to the negotiating table on its demands."

The group has accepted that its planned civil disobedience in London and elsewhere will lead to "multiple arrests."