Thursday, 15 November 2018
Extinction Rebellion – Direct Action in London to Save the Planet
There will be a direct action protest in central London on Saturday 17 November, from 10am to 3pm, organised by the campaign group Extinction Rebellion. Originally, protesters were to meet in Parliament Square, but the latest from their Facebook page asks people to congregate on and around these London bridges straddling the Thames; Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth.
Saturday’s demonstration will be the culmination of non-violent direct action protests this week, which saw protesters gluing themselves to gates outside Downing Street on Wednesday, 27 people were arrested. Protesters then moved onto the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, where a wall was spray painted with the message: "Climate emergency. Frack off. Climate breakdown equals starvation."
Earlier in the week on Monday, a similar protest took place outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which saw 22 people arrested. Saturday’s action promises to be the largest yet, with over 2,700 people indicating on Facebook that they will attend.
This move comes out of a despair with normal politics and politicians, who have failed utterly to get to grips in any meaningful way, with man-made climate change and other environmental crises. Year on year for the last five years, the planet has got increasingly warmer, Arctic icecaps are melting, wild fires rage from the Arctic circle to Australia, and hurricanes are more frequent and more forceful than previously.
The IPCC report last month says we at best we have 12 years to mend our ways if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, and governments’ including in the UK do nothing, or worse, exacerbate the problem with fracking and airport expansions. This is why people are taking direct action and risking being arrested, to try and get the politicians to take the earth’s sustainability seriously.
Non-violent direct action has a proud history in the UK and around the world, the Suffragettes, Gandhi and the civil rights protests in the southern States of the US. All of which led to changes in the longer run. It is with this history and spirit in mind that Extinction Rebellion have organised their campaign.
I share the campaigners despair, no tinkering around the edges of current environmental policies will get us to where we need to be, so I fully support these protests and wish that I was as brave as these people. I don’t fancy getting arrested, I could well lose my job, if I did.
So, I hope that my efforts in support of the demonstrators, which only amounts to that of a ‘keyboard warrior’ will, in some way, help to bring about change.
System change, not climate change. Solidarity with Extinction Rebellion.