The climate activist group return to the streets as MPs head back to parliament after their summer recess
It’s September 1, which means three things: summer is over, MPs are back in parliament, and Extinction Rebellion is returning to the streets for a two-week disruption.
The climate activist group is set to lead marches in London, Cardiff, and Manchester, demanding that the government support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. Happening between September 1 and 10, the disruption will also include speeches, a “disruptive cycle” and “rebellious dancing”, as well as a protest outside parliament tomorrow (September 2) to ‘welcome’ Boris Johnson as he arrives for PMQs.
In a press release, Extinction Rebellion said: “The government is failing to do what’s necessary to keep people safe. We are here, taking action, because their criminal negligence is putting lives at risk. They must not be allowed to carry on like this. We have an opportunity to turn this sinking ship around, but we must act now.”
REBEL - Stand Together in #Cardiff#Manchester and #London in nonviolent civil disobedience, @GOVUK have failed, people are dying, it is a mass extinction. It's time to LOVE and RAGE - meet in Parliament Square at 12 #LoveRageRebel#WeWantToLive#ExtinctionRebellion#ActNowpic.twitter.com/BzDtnBOg5c— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) September 1, 2020
The group added: “We know our critics will try and make these next few weeks all about Extinction Rebellion. About how we’re selfish, wreckless, jobless, extremists. About how the climate crisis really isn’t as bad as we say, and that we just want power. This narrative is false. This story isn’t about Extinction Rebellion. It’s about a climate and ecological emergency, and those in power who know the truth and choose to only act with their own interests at heart.”
The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is a grassroots campaign set up by XR and members of Friends of the Earth’s Big Ask Campaign, which led to the Climate Change Act in 2008. According to XR, the bill would force the government “to act fast, accounting for our entire carbon footprint while actively conserving nature here and overseas”.
The next two weeks of action follow regional events which took place over the bank holiday weekend in 30 locations. On Thursday (August 27), two members of XR Youth were arrested after blocking the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. The pair locked themselves together and lay in the middle of the road.
According to The Guardian, XR has been warned by police that it could face a $10,000 fine for organising gatherings of more than 30 people under current coronavirus restrictions. COVID-19 aside, the police are notoriously anti-XR, previously listing the group as extremist and implementing a London-wide ban on its protests – the latter of which was later declared unlawful.
For those who are concerned about coronavirus, or simply aren’t available to attend the IRL protests, you can join the action online. The group is running a Digital Rebellion – join via Telegram here – which encourages supporters to “make the prime minister and chancellor take notice by digitally occupying their internal lines of communication”.
Extinction Rebellion will gather in London’s Parliament Square and Cardiff’s Gorsedd Stone Circle in Bute Park at 12PM BST today (September 1), while protests in Manchester kicked off in St Peter’s Square at 10AM. See the full London schedule here.