Extinction Rebellion protests: Here's what you missed in April
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Image Credit: Mark MatthewsExtinction Rebellion describe themselves as “an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.” Their three core demands are for the government to tell the truth about “how deadly our situation is”, for carbon net zero to be achieved by 2025, and for a Citizens’ Assembly to be established in order to “oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.” Their principles focus on non-violence, autonomy, decentralisation, and creating a culture that is “healthy, resilient and adaptable.” Demonstrations began on Monday 15th April After Extinction Rebellion called for a “full-scale Rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on the environmental crisis” on their website. “This is not a one-off march,” they declared. “We will keep going for as long as we have to, shutting down cities day after day until our demands are met.”
Image Credit: DAVID HOLT on FlickrAt 6pm on 15th, protestors blocked roads at Marble Arch, then moved onto Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, and Parliament Square, some of the busiest areas of Central London for tourists and locals alike. Relations between police and protestors were a cause of debate throughout the action. On 16th April. Extinction Rebellion tweeted: “Most police are reasonable people. Some are idiots. No different to the rest of society. We hope that the police will soon join with the rebellion, either passively or actively, in a move that would force the government to the negotiating table.” Later in the week, a video was uploaded to Twitter of protestors waiting to be arrested on Waterloo Bridge chanting, “Police, we love you, we are doing this for your children, too.” On 23rd April.
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On 24th April. The Met said they were 'impos[ing] new conditions on the protest outside Marble Arch. This made it a criminal offence to protest outside a designated area or incite others to protest outside it.' On 25th April. Several protestors blocked the entrance to the London Stock Exchange by glueing themselves to the walls and each other. Elsewhere in London’s financial district, a group of four people climbed onto a DLR train at Canary Wharf and held up banners with slogans such as “business as usual = death” and “don’t jail the Canaries”.
‘Most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late.’ — Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg scolded leaders for failing to act on climate change while there is still time pic.twitter.com/7jIebsPgZb— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 25, 2019
One protestor glued themselves to a carriage of the train. Meanwhile, temporary roadblocks were set up at Bank and Southwark Bridge and more protests took place on Fleet Street outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs bank. More than one thousand activists were arrested between the 15th and the 25th. 69 people had been charged as of 23rd April. A closing ceremony for the protests was held at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park on the afternoon of Thursday 25th April. Extinction Rebellion said it was time for its members to “go back to their communities,” but that the public could “expect more action very soon.” And indeed, the next day, Extinction Rebellion protestors further north took part in a ‘slow cycle ride’. An estimated 70 cyclists, plus others on foot, travelled across the Tyne Bridge from Newcastle Central Station for a rally in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Annie Highfield, from Extinction Rebellion North East, said: “We are bringing things north because it’s an issue for everyone, not just those in London.” Further north, on 27th April. 'Extinction Rebellion Scotland said approximately 300 people' took part in a ‘die in’ protest at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Protestors lay on the ground of the main hall next to a skeleton copy of a diplodocus, holding signs saying “are we next?” The protest was organised by Wee Rebellion, a climate change protest group for young people in Glasgow that is associated with Extinction Rebellion. Since the protests, the British Government has voted to acknowledge a climate crisis, becoming the first country in the world to do so. Details of what this means and the changes that are to be made are still to be announced. Lead Image Credit: Mark Matthews
#ExtinctionRebellion in the financial centres of London, the stock exchange, Canary Wharf. Research scientist and retired head teacher wear LED signs saying 'you can't eat money'. Significantly more support from commuters now cheering and saying thanks. Earth 'too big to fail'!? pic.twitter.com/8vmRaENRtd— Extinction Rebellion London (⧖) (@LdnRebellion) April 25, 2019