London's statues were wearing gas masks on Monday after Greenpeace activists launched a campaign demanding action on air pollution.
Greenpeace said it put the masks on 17 figures, including Admiral Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square, Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, Queen Victoria near Buckingham Palace, and Eros at Piccadilly Circus.
“Monitoring shows that if these statutes were real people, many of them would often be breathing dangerous, illegal air,” said a Greenpeace news release
. “That’s why we’ve given them face masks. Of course many millions of Londoners, including kids, are breathing that same air. Kitting everyone out with face masks is not the solution, instead we need to see real political action from the new Mayor. We need a Clean Air Zone covering a large part of the city. Whoever wins the election has to stop the talk and start the action.”
"We wanted to draw attention to the air pollution problem because nearly 9,500 people a year are dying because of air pollution alone (in London),” activist Paul Morozzo, told CNN
. "Air pollution is an invisible problem and we wanted to make it visible before the mayoral elections (in May), because it's important that the mayor puts it as one of their main things to deal with."
Eight people were arrested Monday in connection with the stunt, in which activists jumped security fences and climbed monuments, BBC
"I understand that some people might be frustrated by it. But we are highly trained, what we're doing isn't dangerous,” said activist Alison Garrigan.
The Mayor of London said comprehensive measures are being taken to improve the city’s air quality.
Twitter users had mixed reactions to the gas mask campaign.
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