Extinction Rebellion member wearing blonde wig begins climb down from Big Ben

By Milly Veitch
October 18 2019, 16.40

An Extinction Rebellion member wearing a blonde wig who scaled the scaffolding around Big Ben and hung a protest banner has begun his descent.

Tree surgeon Ben Atkinson, 43, free climbed the scaffolding surrounding the base of Queen Elizabeth Tower which houses Big Ben and stayed there for half an hour before beginning to climb down at 4.26pm.

He hung a LGBT rainbow banner reading “No pride on a dead planet” and a second banner reading “Citizens Assembly” referencing the third of XR’s three UK demands.

An XR spokesperson said Mr Atkinson was protesting “to highlight the government inaction on the climate and ecological emergency”.

He is said to be dressed up as Boris Johnson, wearing a blonde wig, blazer and tie.  

Police were heard yelling at him to come down for his own safety and have cleared the area surrounding the landmark and closed the nearest entrance to Westminster Tube station.

Two ambulances and two police vans have arrived at the scene and appear to be discussing how best to ensure Mr Atkinson’s safety.

XR co-founder Clare Farrell, who was on Sky News as the protester began his climb, said she did not know the protest was going to happen before it did, but argued against claims the environmental group had lost control.

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