Tyre Extinguishers deflate tyres of 900 SUVs in ‘biggest ever action’

The climate activists claim to have targeted 4x4 owners in eight European and US cities

Guerrilla climate activists Tyre Extinguishers have claimed their “largest ever night of action against SUVs”, with 900 of the vehicles targeted around the world.

“Last night (the evening of Monday 28 November and early morning of Tuesday 29 November), citizens in eight countries deflated tyres on nearly 900 polluting SUVs,” the activist group said in a statement.

“This is the biggest coordinated global action against high-carbon vehicles in history, with many more to come.”

The latest communique from the Tyre Extinguishers suggests its campaign of clandestine climate action against the urban owners of 4x4s is still going strong, nearly nine months after the first reports of actions in the UK.

They have called for a ban on SUVs in urban areas. Until then, they have said: “We want to make it impossible to own a huge polluting 4x4 in the world’s urban areas.”

Overnight, groups took action in Amsterdam and Enschede in the Netherlands, Paris and Lyon in France, Berlin, Bonn, Essen, Hanover and Saarbrücken in Germany, Bristol, Leeds, London and Dundee in the UK, Malmö in Sweden, Innsbruck in Austria, Zurich and Winterthur in Switzerland, and New York in the US.

In Leeds, London and Zurich, activists reported that more than 100 cars were targeted.

Tom Haworth, of Yorkshire ambulance service, said on Twitter the group had targeted his vehicle in Leeds. Alongside a pictures of a pump attached to a car tyre and of a Tyre Extinguishers leaflet, he said: “Congratulations. You’ve successfully managed to deflate the tyres of an emergency vehicle!” It was not clear whether his was a marked emergency vehicle.

After the previous claimed biggest night of action, in early September, the campaign said it had had reports of more than 600 vehicles “disarmed” in nine countries.

The campaign’s coordinators claim supporters of the movement have deflated the tyres on more than 10,000 vehicles in cities around the world. The group has said it is now aware of about 100 autonomous groups around the world sabotaging SUV tyres.

“There are other groups taking similar action that the Tyre Extinguishers are not in direct contact with, and not all actions are reported,” the Tyre Extinguishers said.

Set up in March, the Tyre Extinguishers have criticised SUVs as “unnecessary ‘luxury emissions’, flaunted by the wealthy, that are a climate disaster, cause air pollution and make our roads more dangerous”.

The decentralised campaign provides online instructions for supporters who want to set up their own autonomous sabotage groups. “Target posh/middle-class areas”, it suggests, before explaining how jamming a lentil or other small pulse into the tyre valve of a car, then replacing its cap, can leave it bleeding air all night long.

Their site also provides print-at-home information leaflets for saboteurs to leave on vehicles to explain why they have been targeted.

Marion Walker, a Tyre Extinguishers spokesperson, said: “We want to show that anyone, everywhere, can take climate action to end the dominance of massive cars in the world’s cities. All they need is a leaflet and a lentil. Our movement will continue to grow – once the idea is out there, it can’t be stopped.”


Damien Gayle

The GuardianTramp

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