Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion activists have staged a protest march targeting the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Climate campaigners paraded from St Ives Leisure Centre to the centre of the town, escorted by police who redirected cars en route.

It was the first of a series of demonstrations the group is holding throughout the three-day event in the seaside town.

Extinction Rebellion says the protests are in response to G7 nations’ “failure to respect the global climate commitments they made in Paris in 2015” and “to urge the leaders meeting at Carbis Bay in Cornwall to act immediately to address the climate and ecological emergency”.

At least 500 people joined the parade, while residents of St Ives stood outside and took photographs and videoed the event.

The protesters played drums and chanted “act now”, “sound the alarm” and “Extinction Rebellion”.

Some campaigners wore blue gowns and veils and moved through crowd in a flowing motion, which they said represented the threat climate change has on marine life.

They began their protest with a rally at the leisure centre where they gave speeches and sang songs.

Protesters in St Ives
Protesters in St Ives (Ben Birchall/PA)

Halfway through the route, just before they reached the harbour, they held a few minutes’ silence with their fists in the air.

“This is exciting, nothing like this ever happens in our little town,” one resident told the PA news agency.

Senara Hodges, 51, said she was “delighted” the campaigners were protesting.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. They are not causing the disruption – the Government is with its lack of action,” the filmmaker told PA.

“We are severely disrupted by the G7. It’s a huge imposition on a very, very busy town during peak season. It feels like a typical lack of understanding of the impact.”

Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin, 41, joined the protests as a member of Ocean Rebellion – Extinction Rebellion’s sea-focused campaign group.

Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin
Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin (Isobel Frodsham/PA)

“I’m down here for the duration of the summit. I learnt about the climate emergency in January 2019 and I’ve not been able to focus on anything since,” she told PA.

“I’ve absorbed and understood the dire warnings of the world-leading scientists, academics and David Attenborough. I’m the mother of an eight-year-old son and there’s constant contradictions of their words with their actions. As a result I’m terrified for the future of my child and all our children.

“I think it’s wonderful to see so many people coming here today in creative ways.”

Ms Baldwin added she was more stressed about the state of the planet than any competition as an Olympian.

She said: “I’m part of Ocean Rebellion because I’m an Olympic sailor and the ocean is where my heart is. I love the water and respect it.”

Nat Squire, 24, an osteopath graduate who lives in Cornwall, said he decided to take part in the protest because the Government was not acting “anywhere ambitiously as they need to be”.

“They do a lot of greenwashing. They say they’re going to do something but they don’t have any intention,” he said.

“They’re in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry and the billionaires, making it difficult for them to make any changes, even if they wanted to.”

Extinction Rebellion will also hold protests in Falmouth on Saturday, where they will march through the town again, while on Sunday there will be an art installation in St Ives.