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Extinction Rebellion protest
via Twitter (@XRebellionUK)

Extinction Rebellion block roads in London, Glasgow, and other UK cities

The ‘Summer Uprising’ has begun

Extinction Rebellion is back, and this time it’s for the Summer Uprising, with five protests across five cities in the UK this week. The group kicked off five days of disruption in Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, London, and Leeds with today’s demonstrations for climate action. Each protest is focusing on a specific ecological threat: rising sea levels, floods, wildfires, crop failures, and extreme weather, and is carried out under the names of seminal environmental activists.

The group continues to demand the government halts biodiversity loss and reduces greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. The ‘Summer Uprising’ is predicted to cause mass disruption to traffic in each city, where protesters are sitting peacefully, playing music, and erecting five colourful boats, ‘ACT NOW’ and ‘THE FUTURE YOU FEAR IS ALREADY HERE’ plaster the boats’ sides. Extinction Rebellion spokespeople have estimated that around 3,000 activists are taking part in the action.

Almost 30 climate change protesters appeared in court last week, charged with a public order offence for April’s mass demonstrations, when more than 1,000 people were arrested. The court attendees, with ages ranging from 20 to 76-years-old, gave eight guilty pleas and 21 not guilty pleas. Extinction Rebellion is also calling on the Prosecution Service to drop all charges against those who participated in the protests. 

Back in April, the climate action activist group instigated a UK-wide shutdown of major locations across London and other cities in the UK for weeks, drawing attention to the impending danger of climate crisis. Parts of central London including Oxford Circus an Marble Arch came to a standstill. Away from the blockades, activists glued themselves to trains and buildings.

In this week’s demos, participants in Cardiff will be dressed in yellow to represent the canaries that were used as a way of warning coal miners of dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide, while Glasgow protesters will be standing in solidarity with climate refugees. Leeds and London are demanding that the financial and justice systems recognise their own complacency in the matter and urge for the immediate investment in green, renewable energy, as well as the ushering in of ecocide laws to safeguard both the planet and future generations. The blue boat outside London’s Royal Courts of Justice has also been named the 'Polly Higgins', after the barrister and environmental lobbyist who died this year. Bristol, a historic seaport, will focus on the devastating effects that climate change has, and will continue to have, on sea-levels.

Frances, an 18-year-old Extinction Rebellion Youth member protesting in Leeds, said: “We are facing the sixth mass extinction. To save the futures of myself and those I love and care about, I will be taking to the streets in protest this week. For too long the youth have been denied a voice in politics and I will not stop until this changes. If there was one thing I could say to our government it would be: Act Now. Our lives are in your hands.”

“Climate change is here now and will continue to devastate people all over the world, affecting crop yields and droughts leading to the mass displacement of people. Inaction on the part of the Government is robbing people all over the world of the human rights we claim to have at the forefront of our ideals,” said Susana, a 26-year-old member of Extinction Rebellion’s Scottish division, who is protesting in Glasgow.

Across the next five days, the group said it will carry out “creative acts of civil disobedience”, with educational workshops, music, road and bridge blocking. 

A recent poll a new poll found that a large majority of British people believe we need more urgent political action against climate change, while another found 45 per cent of young Britons aged between 18 and 24 think the environment is the second most pressing issue facing the country at the moment – behind Brexit at 57 per cent.