Socialist Worker

Up to 30,000 get ready to join Extinction Rebellion climate action in London

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2675

Extinction Rebellion activists in London during the 20 September climate strikes

Extinction Rebellion activists in London during the 20 September climate strikes (Pic: Socialist Worker)


“We’re going to make rebellion something everyone wants to do,” declared Extinction Rebellion (XR), just days ahead of its occupation of central London.

Tens of thousands are set to join XR occupations of the streets from Trafalgar Square to Lambeth Bridge and demand radical action on the climate emergency.

Joel from the “actions group” said it plans to take on the “levers of power in government” and “blockade and shut down every street” in Westminster.

“If a government is taking its people to extinction, it is not a government worth respecting,” he said.

XR expects 20-30,000 people to take part across the fortnight of resistance. Similar occupations of “prolonged action” are planned in Australia, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Madrid.

Over 12 sites in London, regional XR groups plan to occupy key government ministries. Smaller “affinity groups” are set to engage in direct action stunts.

Alongside the road blockades, XR has planned a programme of radical action.

The rebellion is likely to see the same audacious stunts as the action in April. “XR Farmers” plan to park a pink tractor outside the Home Office.

Other actions include a two-day sit-in at East London’s City Airport, an occupation of Vauxhall Bridge by hunger strikers, and several marches through Westminster.

At a press briefing on Thursday, XR spokesperson Robin said that the group was going to “up the ante”. He predicted the rebellion would be around “four times larger” than the April action.

Activists are planning a rebellion that is not only bigger, but better organised than ever before.

Vishal from the “regenerative culture” team said there will be “over 100 therapists and counsellors to provide support during the rebellion”.

Structured

And Joel said that each of the 12 sites had been structured to function even if police shut down other sites.

“You need to take all of us down if you want to take any of us down,” he said.

Joel said regional groups have organised the road blockades and they would last as long as “their courage and their hope holds out”.

“I think it will be a long time,” he added.

The Met police are already preparing to take on the rebellion. Nick Ephgrave, a Met police assistant commissioner, argued that cops needed more powers to move protesters off the streets.

“The legislation around public order is drafted in a different area,” he said.

“It’s not particularly helpful because it wasn’t really designed to deal with what we’re dealing with now.”

Specialist “protest removal teams” from other forces will help Met officers remove rebels who glue or lock themselves to blockades.

Ronan from the Media and Messaging team said XR representatives had met police to inform them of their plans. “We’re not in a quarrel with the police,” he said. “We’re in a quarrel with the government.

“If we’re not going to able to get to these places, there are others planned that are more disruptive.”

Those at the top will focus on the temporary disruption the International Rebellion will cause – instead of the terrifying context in which it takes place.

Our world is on fire and we are running out of time to save it. Everyone should support the rebellion, and join the actions if they can.


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