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Extinction Rebellion protest passes off peacefully in Belfast

Members of Extinction Rebellion hold a climate change demonstration in Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

Dozens of climate change protestors linked to a group which has brought London to a standstill staged a "non-violent" and colourful protest in Belfast city centre yesterday.

The Extinction Rebellion campaigners came together at Castle Place for an "engagement and awareness day" while also featuring street performers and musicians to "celebrate our love for all life on earth".

A similar protest was held in Dublin.

The group's London demonstrations have led to hundreds of arrests in a matter of days, while police have warned that officers were being diverted from "core local duties" as a result.

Tube and bus routes in the capital have been blocked, while three protestors were charged after gluing themselves to the roof of a train.

The Belfast 'rebels' did not block any roads however as the area they chose is pedestrian-only following last year's Primark fire.

But organisers warned they could step up their protests in coming weeks that may include traffic disruption.

Meanwhile, 1,000 officers have been deployed in London over the Easter Bank holidays to deal with the protests.

Officers have also been asked to work 12-hour shifts, while the Violent Crime Task Force has had leave cancelled.

"This will have implications in the weeks and months beyond this protest as officers take back leave and the cost of overtime," a Met Police spokesman said.

It emerged last night that the number of people arrested in connection to the climate protests in central London has risen to 682.

"The serious disruption the demonstrations are causing to people in London and beyond is unacceptable and we completely understand the concern it is causing to those who are disrupted by it," the Met Police tweeted.

Last night police cleared the centre of Oxford Circus of protesters and had to dismantle a pink ship placed by groups.

Police set up a wide cordon around the junction of Oxford Street and Regent Street with crowds of people watching the operation, chanting 'we have more ships'.

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