Part of the strategy for the Extinction Rebellion movement is to provoke the state to take action against protesters.
On Monday police began clearing protesters from Waterloo Bridge just as darkness fell. And again on Tuesday afternoon.
Cops singled out individual protesters, asking them to move to Marble Arch before arresting them moments later.
One protester told Socialist Worker, “I’m scared, and I don’t know if I’m ready to get arrested.
“At the end of the day I’m doing this because I give a shit about the planet. If we don’t have disruptive protests we’re not going to get through to the powers that be.”
Seconds later she was taken away by police.
Protesters gathered together singing and chanting as they faced the police. There were cheers for every person taken by the cops.
One protester told Socialist Worker, “We’re aware of what’s going to happen. We’re prepared for it. This demonstrates how serious people are, that they’re prepared to put their bodies on the line and get arrested.”
Alongside bigger occupations, a small group of activists took their fight directly to the fossil firm company Shell’s office in central London.
Five were arrested for suspected criminal damage after the building was spray painted. There is a danger that the movement is divided between the “professional protesters” willing to put their bodies on the line and other “softer” elements.
Guilty as Shell
Shell was targeted by protesters because it is a poisonous symbol of the climate catastrophe threatening life on Earth.
Last year internal Shell documents were uncovered which showed the company knew in the 1980s that increased CO2 emissions would lead to increases in the Earth’s average temperature.
The company’s analysts warned of the “disappearance of specific ecosystems or habitat destruction”.
They also predicted “runoff, destructive floods, and inundation of low-lying farmland,” arguing that “new sources of freshwater would be required” as old ones became contaminated due to rising sea levels.
It’s yet one more example why the people at the top of society can’t be trusted with planning the response to climate change.