24 Apr 2019
“Our leaders have failed us. It’s time to rebel – and have a damn good time doing it.”
These are the words of EXTINCTION REBELLIONwhich is an international protest group that uses non-violentcivil disobedience to campaign on environmental issues. The group was formed on 31 October 2018 and named themselves afterAnthropocene Extinction. They clearly have a beef with the Government but do not mistake them for the mysterious insurrectionary anarchist known as Mr Robot and his team of hacktivists known as fsociety from the popular USA Network show Mr Robot who were at war with the Government because they wanted to erase all the records of any debt from the records.
Instead, Extinction Rebellion abbreviated as XR is a socio-political movement which uses nonviolent resistance to avert climate breakdown, halt biodiversity loss, and minimize the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse. XR was launched by Roger Hallam, Gail Bradbrook, Simon Bramwell, and other activists from the campaign group Rising Up! Their motto- Fight for life, Rebel for life. As soon as the group was formed, several acts of Civil Disobedience were carried out in London in November 2018. According to their website,https://rebellion.earth/ , on April 15th 2019, they are calling for a full-scale rebellion to demand decisive action from governments on the environmental crisis.
The movement includes blockading the city, engaging in civil disobedience, taking direct action, and amazing acts that will be performing at the protest sites will be revealed later. The UK Rebellion also termed as SHUT DOWN LONDON will be carried out in prominent parts of the city which are Parliament Square, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and the Piccadilly Circus. The is not a one-off march and the XR will go on shutting down cities until their demands are met.
Their demands include:
1. Truth be told-The government must tell the truth about how bad the situation is and also must revoke any policies that are in contradiction with the situation and must work with the media to communicate with citizens.
2.Carbon Net Zero by 2025-The Government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero by 2025 and also work on to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases.
3. Citizen’s Assembly- They also demand that a citizen’s assembly be set up to oversee the changes.
They also say:
“Under our current system, we are headed for disaster. Catastrophic climate breakdown will cause food collapse, destroy communities, kill millions, and render many more homeless. Mass extinction of wild species will lead to ecological collapse, and when they go, we go. Destruction of natural habitats will lead to the genocide of indigenous peoples and the loss of our planet’s life support systems.
It’s not too late to change course – a better world is possible. We know how to get there – the solutions exist, and we have the technology to take us to a better future. But governments are consistently failing to take the urgent and decisive action that will save us. If the system will not change, then we must change the system. It is our sacred duty to rebel in order to protect our homes, our future, and the future of all life on Earth.”
Coming to the protests by XR, Demonstration have included blocking bridges to traffic in London and a semi-naked protest inside the House of Commons. The group says climate breakdown threatens all life on Earth, and so it is rebelling against politicians who 'have failed us', to provoke radical change that will stave off a climate emergency.
2018- Primarily in London, on 31 October 2018, the “Declaration of Rebellion” was done in Parliament Square. A lot of people came in to hear Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl "on strike" from school over her own government's climate inaction.
In the first two weeks of the movement in November 2018, more than 60 people were arrested for taking part in acts of civil disobedience organized by Extinction Rebellion. On 12 November 2018, activists blockaded the UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and some glued their hands to the department's doors. Activists unveiled a "Climate Change... We're Fu*ked" banner over Westminster Bridge and glued themselves to the gates of Downing Street, near the Prime Minister's official residence.
On 17 November 2018, in what was called "Rebellion Day", about 6,000 people took part in a coordinated action to block the five main bridges over the River Thames in London (Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, and Lambeth) for several hours, causing major traffic disruption.
On 23 November, in the first action outside London, an Extinction Rebellion group in York stopped traffic on Coppergate, Clifford Street, Pavement and Ouse Bridge, as well as holding a demo outside West Offices of the City of York Council. An Oxford XR group blocked traffic on Botley Road on the same day.
On"Rebellion Day 2", a week after the first, Extinction Rebellion blocked the roads around Parliament Square, before a mock funeral marches to Downing Street and then onto Buckingham Palace. XR co-founder Gail Bradbrook read out a letter to the Queen, and one activist glued herself to the gates of the Palace before the procession returned to Parliament Square.
On 21 December 2018, actions were staged at BBC locations across the UK by Extinction Rebellion calling for a change in editorial policy, perceiving a "failure to report" on the "climate emergency." BBC headquarters in London was placed on lockdown.
2019- Starting from Monday 15 April 2019, Extinction Rebellion organized demonstrations in London, focusing their attention on Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and the area around Parliament Square. Activists fixed a pink boat named after murdered Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres in the middle of the busy intersection of Oxford Street and Regent Street (Oxford Circus) and glued themselves to it, and also set up several gazebos, potted plants and trees, a mobile stage and a skate ramp whilst occupying Waterloo Bridge. Five activists, including XR co-founder Simon Bramwell, were arrested for criminal damage when they targeted Shell's headquarters, near Waterloo.
Towards the end of Wednesday, a large force of police marched on the camp at Parliament Square, arresting people and partially removing roadblocks before it was retaken later the same night by protesters who arrived with a samba band and re-established the roadblocks.
On the morning of Friday 19 April, after significant media speculation about a threat to Heathrow Airport, around a dozen teenagers, some aged 13 and 14, approached the access road holding a banner which read “Are we the last generation?” In the middle of the day, police moved in force to surround the pink boat as Emma Thompson read poetry from the deck, eventually removing the people who were either locked-on or glued to it. After seven hours police had moved the boat without clearing Oxford Circus. By late evening police were saying that 682 people had been arrested in London.
People have been in support of the actions of the Extinction Rebellion and believe that the cause is worth fighting for. However, a lot of media outlets have outright questioned the strategies of XR. While they do support the cause they are fighting, many people do not agree with the methods opted by them. Although, It is indeed commendable looking at all those who are a part of this incredibly important movement going on. Ending this piece by quoting the XR and their persistence.
"But we will make sure they will not get away with it any longer."
We will not disappear.
We will not die off.
We will not give in.
Now is the time to rise up – for people and planet.
We’ll see you on the streets, rebels.”