G7 protesters have set sail on a flotilla of paddleboards, boats and kayaks to demand action on climate change on the second day of the summit.
More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the shallow waters off Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth to protest at the destruction of the oceans by polluting nations.
It comes on day two of the G7 summit when the main business will see leaders discuss building resilience to future crises, consider foreign policy and then decide on their response to Covid-19.
In nearby Falmouth, protesters gathered around a banner that read ‘this is an ocean and climate emergency’ before thrashing the water with their paddles and calling out for change.
Organisers said they were thrilled by the turnout of the wet suit clad protestors as hundreds of people took to the water. A RNLI lifeboat kept watch over the group, but was not called into use during the event organised by the ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ protest group.
Most of those taking part were from Cornwall but others have travelled from Devon and the west country.
Organiser Amy Slack said the pumping of sewage into the ocean was a ‘huge problem’ and she ‘wants change’.
More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the shallow waters off Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth to protest at the destruction of the oceans by polluting nations. Pictured, an inflatable shark with the words ‘eat people not plastic’
In nearby Falmouth, protesters gathered around a banner that read ‘this is an ocean and climate emergency’ before thrashing the water with their paddles and calling out for change
Organisers said they were thrilled by the turnout of the wet suit clad protestors as hundreds of people took to the water
Organiser Amy Slack said the pumping of sewage into the ocean was a ‘huge problem’ and she ‘wants change’
She added: ’This is our way of making our protest known. Every year 400,000 tons of sewage is poured into the seas off the coast of our country. It is a huge problem, particularly if you are a surfer or take part in a water sport.
‘We want change and this is our way of making our views known. The ocean must be integrated into climate action with bold commitments. The G7’s agenda as it stands falls short of that. It is all too easy to forget that the nature we need to protect is also blue.
‘We look to the G7 leaders to stand up for the ocean and make it priority to protect both biodiversity and the climate.’
This afternoon more than 1,000 protestors staged a noisy and colourful march through the centre of Falmouth as they held their biggest event of the G7 summit.
Extinction Rebellion co-founder Dr Gail Bradbrook was among those who took part in the march that included figures wearing lifelike paper mache masks of the world leaders at the Cornwall summit.
Protestors dressed as the grim reaper, suffragettes and others hidden beneath the costume of a Chinese dragon made their way from Kimberley Park though the centre of Falmouth.
The Surfers Against Sewage group have called on the G7 leaders to regulate ocean pollution and ban the destructive extraction of ocean resources
Hundreds or people on various modes of transport could be seen in the sea off the coast of Falmouth, Cornwall
Most of those at the protest were from Cornwall, but some had travelled from elsewhere in the west country
Some protesters took dogs with them, others swam through the water, while one had a cone on his head
The only sign of disruption came with a splinter group called Animal Rebellion who occupied a McDonalds restaurant on the outskirts of the town.
Police stood watch as the protestors, mostly teen girls, occupied all the tables preventing families from eating inside the restaurant.
The protestors, who were all vegan, demanded McDonalds switch from serving meat hamburgers to plant-based meals.
The protest was peaceful and one of the group, a student from Brighton, said their aim was to force McDonalds to stop selling meat. Waving an XR flag Dr Bradbrook said she was ‘pleased’ with the turnout of the protestors.
‘We are here to show that enough is enough and that the world is dying. We are colourful and noisy and that has been our intention. When the music stops that signifies people that are dying because of inaction on climate change.’
Among those taking part in the march were several NHS doctors. Andrew Stevenson, who works at the hospital in Somerset, said:’ The climate emergency is a health emergency and has to be tackled.
Angie Nicholas, also a doctor in Somerset, said the pandemic was linked to the climate emergency. People have to sit up and take notice. The pandemic has its roots in climate change.’
Banners being carried at the march warned of the impending catastrophe unless action was taken.
Amy, 18, carried a ‘drowning in promises’ banner as she walked with four friends. She said: ’It is just a matter of making those in power listen to us. There has been no change for 30 to 40 year. I don’t know if they will ever listen, but we have to try and speak up. It is my generation and future generations that will be affected.’
Protestors marched to the sound of loud drums and whistles. Every few steps they would stop and stand in silence.
A life-sized elephant painted white with the words HS2 – the planned railway line from London to the Midlands – was among the more creative of the costumes.
Seven figures dressed as the G7 leaders led the march with the Boris character enthusiastically copying his hand movements.
Earlier, members of the climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion kicked off their protests with a football match between one team wearing masks of the G7 leaders against the rest of the world
The sand football match was deliberately rigged with the G7 team scoring into a large goal while the other team attempted to score in a mini goal
On what is expected to be the hottest day of the year Gyllyngvase was packed with protesters and other holidaymakers
The Red Rebel Brigade, who walk silently with their hands upturned followed. Others in costume included protestors dressed as blackbirds, seven women in funeral black pushing white wheelchairs bearing the slogan ‘Climate change kills children.’
Six people carried a giant globe through the streets as protestors handed out leaflets to locals who had stood on the pavement to watch.
The Surfers Against Sewage group have called on the G7 leaders to regulate ocean pollution and ban the destructive extraction of ocean resources.
Among those taking part was 26-year-old Jen from the village of Portreath. She said: ‘I think it is important that the G7 leaders understand that we want change.
‘I hope they will listen and by being here I feel that at least I am doing my bit to make our voice heard.’
Dan Russell, 42, arrived with his 12-year-old son to take part in the protest. He said: ’This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to protest when all the world’s leaders are so close. Will they listen? Probably not, but I am happy to take part.’
On what is expected to be the hottest day of the year Gyllyngvase was packed with protesters and other holidaymakers.
Earlier, members of the climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion kicked off their protests with a football match between one team wearing masks of the G7 leaders against the rest of the world.
The sand football match was deliberately rigged with the G7 team scoring into a large goal while the other team attempted to score in a mini goal.
Surfers, paddleboarders and kayakers take part in a protest in the water off Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth
One sign read ‘and we could mute the blonde corrupt’ as people defied social distancing rules in the water
Two woman carried their paddleboards and cardboard signs as they stood in the water in Cornwall
The match referee was a former professional footballer Will Bamford who played for a team in Singapore.
One of the banners listed football clubs that the XR protestors said would disappear by the year 2050 due to rising water levels because of climate change.
Among those listed were Premier League teams Chelsea and Fulham as their stadium is close to the River Thames.
Hull City, Portsmouth and Blackpool from League One were also listed as being at risk from rising sea levels due to climate change. ‘All the clubs on the banner will cease to exist unless climate change is tackled,’ said one of the protesters.
‘With the Euros starting it was appropriate that we staged our our football match. Unlike the Euros ours was rigged with the G7 to win because they bully the rest of the world.’
Another banner took a swipe at Barclays Bank, one of the sponsors of the Premier League, as it labelled the firm ‘Sharklays’.
With thousands of police on security duty around the G7 hotel conference at the Carbis Bay hotel police chiefs are confident they will be able to stop any attempts to disrupt the meetings.
With the road leading to the hotel and G7 accommodation at the Treganna Castle Hotel sealed off by metal barriers it is unlikely any protester will get within a mile of the venue.
Extinction Rebellion have instead called for a ‘noisy protest’ at a public park in Falmouth – at least 20 miles from Carbis Bay.
Demonstrators are expected to walk through the town centre banging drums and making as much noise as possible.
Other activities taking place include street theatre and a crime scene investigation with hazmat wearing protesters investigating a ‘oil spill’ at Custom House Quay in Falmouth.