Thousands of climate change activists are set to bring central London to a standstill next month – promising protests larger than those seen in April.
Members of Extinction Rebellion will occupy areas of the capital for two weeks from October 7, urging the government to take urgent action to tackle climate change.
It will form part of an ‘International Rebellion’, which organisers hope will see demonstrations in 60 cities across the world including in Paris, New York, Buenos Aires and Delhi.
Protesters are expected to block roads, bridges and transport links as they shut down capital cities around the world in a bid to get governments’ attention.
The group has published its plan for which areas of London it hopes to occupy, including Trafalgar Square, codenamed Burning Earth, and Westminster Bridge, codenamed The Beacon.
Members of Extinction Rebellion will occupy areas of the capital for two weeks from October 7, urging the government to take urgent action to tackle climate change (an Extinction Rebellion protest is pictured in London last week)
Protesters are next month expected to block roads, bridges and transport links as they shut down capital cities around the world in a bid to get governments’ attention (pictured left, protesters in London last week, and right, a protester in Dover on Saturday)
The locations Extinction Rebellion are expected to occupy. Burning Earth – Trafalgar Square; Peace Rebellion – Horse Guards Parade; Beyond Politics – Whitehall; The Beacon – Westminster Bridge; Global Justice – Millbank; Rewilding North – Victoria Tower Gardens; Bridging Communities – Lambeth Bridge; The Garden City – Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; We Are All Crew – Home Office; Power in Truth – Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; Love Rebellion – The Treasury; The Future is Here – The Mall
Which parts of London are Extinction Rebellion expected to occupy?
- Trafalgar Square (Burning Earth)
- Horse Guards Parade (Peace Rebellion)
- Whitehall (Beyond Politics)
- Westminster Bridge (The Beacon)
- Millbank (Global Justice)
- Victoria Tower Gardens (Rewilding North)
- Lambeth Bridge (Bridging Communities)
- Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (The Garden City)
- Home Office (We Are All Crew)
- Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (Power in Truth)
- The Treasury (Love Rebellion)
- The Mall (The Future is Here)
The Metropolitan Police has said it is aware of a number of planned demonstrations and protests by Extinction Rebellion and that its response will be ‘appropriate and proportionate’.
Sarah Lunnon of Extinction Rebellion UK said: ‘We hope that world leaders understand that the Climate and Ecological Emergency means that ‘the rules must change’ and it is time to let go of that which is killing us.
‘Business as Usual is destroying our planet’s capacity to sustain life; humanity faces a growing risk of societal collapse in 10-20 years due to mass starvation, migration and war.
‘More rhetoric at this stage will not help, that is why we have been left with no other choice but to shut down capital cities to raise the alarm.
‘The collapse of our climate and ecosystems has already begun, and is in fact accelerating beyond predictions. We are vulnerable, all of us.’
Some 1,130 people were arrested during the protests in April, as more than 10,000 police officers were deployed to deal with the situation.
The action has seen Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus blocked, a ‘die-in’ at the Natural History Museum, and activists gluing themselves to objects.
Eco-protesters have urged ministers to declare a climate emergency to avoid what it calls a ‘sixth mass extinction’ of species on Earth.
Ms Lunnon continued: ‘Our food supply is in peril as extreme weather spreads out across the globe and devastates lives and livelihoods. It is no secret – scientists express their panic daily.
‘Wildfires are ripping across the Arctic. Ice is melting at speeds never thought possible. Deadly heatwaves are crippling countries around the world.
‘We have to tell the truth: we’re out of time. It is time for everybody now to rebel.’
Police carry away a protester during the climate demonstration at Oxford Circus in April. The action saw both Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus blocked, a ‘die-in’ at the Natural History Museum, and activists gluing themselves to objects.
Actress Emma Thompson joined climate protesters in Oxford Street on April 19. Some 1,130 people were arrested during the protests in April, as more than 10,000 police officers were deployed to deal with the situation
Extinction Rebellion protesters lying down inside the main hall of Natural History Museum during the April protests
Protests in London are expected to take place in areas including Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Westminster Bridge.
In a statement, Extinction Rebellion said: ‘It is expected that thousands more ordinary citizens – with parents, builders, footballers, doctors, teachers, musicians, scientists, CEOs, farmers, with other movements aligned to the cause – will join and peacefully block more than eleven key areas until Extinction Rebellion’s demands – for truth, action and a democracy fit for purpose – are met.’
It is demanding three things. That the government ‘tell the truth’ by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, that it ‘act now’ to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and that it create a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.
The Metropolitan Police said today that it was aware of the protests and that it would be deploying officers to maintain public order.
A spokesman said: ‘The Met is aware of a number of planned demonstrations and protests by Extinction Rebellion commencing Monday, 7 October through to Monday, 14 October, expected to take place across a number of central London locations.
‘The Met have been preparing for this protest for several weeks now. The policing operation will be proportionate to balance the right to a peaceful protest, while ensuring disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.
‘Officers from across the Met will be deployed to support the public order operation, balanced against policing the rest of London.’
Extinction Rebellion eco-activists wreaked misery on drivers in Manchester earlier this month by barricading main roads as part of a four-day ‘uprising’
The climate campaigners in Manchester wheeled a large boat reading ‘planet before profit’ into the normally busy Deansgate crossroads in Manchester earlier this month
Earlier this month, Extinction Rebellion eco-activists wreaked misery on drivers in Manchester by barricading main roads as part of a four-day ‘uprising’.
The climate campaigners wheeled a large boat reading ‘planet before profit’ into the normally busy Deansgate crossroads to kick off the rally which is expected to be attended by hundreds over the weekend.
The demonstrators reportedly chose to occupy this particular junction owing to its allegedly unlawful levels of air pollution.
And last week, millions of people including hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren took to the streets in 150 countries today for the largest climate protest in history – involving a number of climate change groups.
Extinction Rebellion grew out of the activist group ‘Rising Up!’ which unsuccessfully tried to stop the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
Established in Britain in May 2018, the group has been organised and partly financed by a private limited company called Compassionate Revolution.
XR now has more than 100 groups across Britain alone, with up to 10,000 supporters drawn to the protests in London this week.
Who are Extinction Rebellion and what do the protesters want?
Extinction Rebellion has emerged as the premier protest movement for climate change activists.
The group has injected fresh energy into the environmental cause, capturing headlines, recruits and high-profile supporters.
It has grown into an international movement backed by celebrities, academics and writers, calling for ‘radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse’.
– What does the group want?
Extinction Rebellion (XR) says direct action is needed to force governments to act urgently on climate change and wildlife declines and halt a ‘sixth mass extinction’.
It is calling for an ecological emergency to be declared, greenhouse gases to be brought to net zero by 2025, and the creation of a citizens’ assembly to lead action on the environment.
XR says the systems propping up ‘modern consumer-focused lifestyles’ will lead to mass water shortages, crop failures, sea level rises and the displacement of millions.
‘Only a peaceful planet-wide mobilisation of the scale of the Second World War will give us a chance to avoid the worst-case scenarios,’ it says.
– What are its methods?
XR uses what is calls ‘non-violent civil disobedience’ as the world has ‘run out of the luxury of time to react incrementally’.
Examples include blocking busy roads and bridges, spray-painting government buildings and activists chaining and gluing themselves to buildings including the gates of Buckingham Palace.
A colourful catwalk show took over London’s busy Oxford Circus junction in April to highlight the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Before that, semi-naked activists glued themselves to windows in the public gallery of the House of Commons during a Brexit debate.
XR says it wants ecocide, the deliberate destruction of the natural environment, to be listed alongside crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and crimes of aggression.
– How did it build momentum?
In its first protest on October 31 last year, the group assembled a protest on Parliament Square in London, expecting a ‘couple of hundred people’ – before 1,500 showed up.
Chapters now exist in dozens of countries including the US, the Solomon Islands, Australia, Spain, South Africa and India, it said.
Its London protests in April led to more than 1,000 arrests and it has subsequently held large demonstrations in other parts of the country.