Socialist Worker

Thousands join Extinction Rebellion march as activists appear in court

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2654

On the Mothers Rise Up demonstration over climate change in London last weekend

On the Mothers Rise Up demonstration over climate change in London last weekend (Pic: Extinction Rebellion)


Thousands of climate change activists marched through central London last Sunday.

Called by Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Mothers Rise Up, organisers say 2,500 marched to demand urgent action on climate change.

The event was called on International Mothers Day, 12 May. It was led by children who will be in their 20s by 2030, the deadline to avoid catastrophic climate change advised by the IPCC climate scientists’ body.

Mothers Rise Up founder Catherine Webb said, “Together we are not powerless. This mums’ group is just a group of ordinary mums.

“We want what every parent wants, we want the best for our kids, a liveable world for them to grow up in.

That should not be too much to ask. We call on business leaders, on politicians, those with power to use it—you’ve all got a chance to be heroes here.”

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, the mother of Ella, who died from an asthma attack believed to be linked to air pollution, spoke at the rally.

Rosamund said a fresh inquest had just been granted into how pollution impacted Ella’s “very, very horrible death”.

“We don’t have ten years, eleven years or twelve years. For people with breathing difficulty the urgency is now. If you deal with air pollution, it also means you deal with climate change,” she said.

The march came days after Roger Hallam, an XR founder, was cleared of criminal damage.

Daubed

Hallam appeared alongside fellow activist David Durant on charges relating to a protest about fossil fuel divestment at King’s College, London.

They daubed internal walls of the college’s Great Hall in February 2017.Although they didn’t deny the actions, a jury at Southwark crown court in south London acquitted Hallam on two charges and Durant of one charge.

During the three day trial—where they represented themselves—they argued that their actions were defensible because the threat to the climate is so severe.

“Chalk on the wall is obviously less important than the impending catastrophe for the planet,” said Durant outside the court.

The judge ruled that the issue of climate change was “irrelevant” to the case. But Hallam argued that their actions were proportionate to the scale of the climate and ecological crisis.

So far 69 people have been charged in relation to XR’s International Rebellion fortnight of protests. Eight months since the launch of XRs campaign of civil disobedience, scores more activists are going through legal cases.

Each activist should be given the fullest legal resources, financial support and political solidarity throughout this process.


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