Extinction Rebellion plans new London climate crisis shutdowns

Action on capital’s bridges and roads from 7 October expected to be bigger than April protests

Thousands of Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists are planning to shut down parts of central London for at least two weeks in October to demand governments take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis.

Organisers say the next round of protests, centred around parliament and surrounding government departments, will be bigger than those in April, when Extinction Rebellion activists brought key sites across the capital to a standstill for two weeks and more than 1,000 people were arrested.

The October Rebellion in London, which will begin on Monday 7 October, is part of a planned series of XR actions taking place in more than 60 cities around the world, including Paris, New York, Buenos Aires and Delhi. It follows a rise in concern about the escalating ecological emergency, which last week resulted in millions of people taking part in a global climate strike.

Sarah Lunnon, from Extinction Rebellion UK, said: “We hope that world leaders understand that the climate and ecological emergency means that the rules must change … 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.”

She said “more rhetoric” from politicians and world leaders would 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.”

In April thousands of peaceful protesters held key sites across London for two weeks, pushing the environmental crisis to the top of the political agenda and contributing to parliament declaring a climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion says its three demands of government: to tell the truth about the ecological emergency; halt biodiversity loss and reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and set up a citizens assembly on climate and ecological justice, have not been met.

For October’s action, organisers say XR has built “a movement of movements”, with animal rights activists, faith groups, medics and peace and anti-war groups joining the protests.

In a statement, XR 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 11 key areas until Extinction Rebellion’s demands, for truth, action and a democracy fit for purpose, are met.”

A Metropolitan police spokesperson said on Monday the force was aware of the planned protests and policing would be “appropriate and proportionate”.

Under XR’s plans, released on Monday, activists said they planned to block two bridges, Westminster and Lambeth, as well as several roads in and around Westminster.

Animal rights activists announced last month they planned to block Smithfield Market, the biggest meat market in the UK, as part of the October protests.


Matthew Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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