British police arrested eight Greenpeace activists on Monday after they scaled some of the London’s best-known landmarks including Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square as part of a protest over air quality in the capital.
Greenpeace said its activists had attached gas masks to 15 statues across London including those of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill outside parliament, Queen Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace and the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus.
“Monitoring shows that if these statutes were real people, many of them would often be breathing dangerous, illegal air,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
“Many millions of Londoners, including kids, are breathing that same air,” it added, calling for whoever is elected Mayor of London next month to introduce a Clean Air Zone in the capital.
Police said two people had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after climbing down from Nelson’s column, the 170 feet-high (52m) memorial to British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Four more were detained near Parliament at a statue to Oliver Cromwell, the 17th Century parliamentarian who led a revolt that temporarily abolished the English monarchy, and two others were held after scaling the Duke of Wellington memorial at Hyde Park Corner.