Socialist Worker

Climate activists stage second day of rebellion

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2721

Extinction Rebellion protest in London

Extinction Rebellion protest in London (Pic: XR)


Climate crisis activists across Britain took to the streets on Wednesday, as part of the second day of protests of the latest Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) members protested in London, Manchester and Cardiff to demand the government urgently address climate change.

At least 90 people were arrested in London on Tuesday as cops attempted to clear thousands of people off Westminster roads.

In particular, XR focused on a new climate law tabled by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas during the afternoon.

XR has thrown its energy behind the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill, which calls on the government to implement tougher restrictions on carbon emissions.

In London, activists staged a series of events around parliament to pile pressure on MPs.

Locked

Two rebels locked themselves to a symbolic bleeding tree outside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The protest was designed to draw attention to the government’s failure to act on the critical question of climate change.

And many activists said that the Tories insistence on driving through the hugely expensive and environmentally costly HS2 project was proof they weren’t taking the climate threat seriously.

“Parliament declared an ecological emergency a year and four months ago, and yet has failed to act upon it,” said Sam Smithson, from sister group HS2 Rebellion.

“In fact, it’s speeding up the largest infrastructure project in UK history contradicting this very emergency. We don’t have time for this mistake, when all our lives depend on it.”

And rebel Rob, who locked himself to the tree said the high speed railway project was “another example of the same kind of wasteful and destructive project that the global elite roll out in the name of progress all over the world."

He said that the construction of the railway, set to cost at least £126 billion, was built for “short-term, short-sighted gain for the present ruling minority.”

HS2 was a key focus for much of the action in London, as protesters occupied trees in Parliament Square.

Extinction Rebellion Protest in Manchester

Extinction Rebellion Protest in Manchester (Pic: Mike Killan)


Occupying trees—for weeks or months at a time—has been a key tactic of protection camps attempting to stop construction along the HS2 route in the Midlands.

Tree climber Athena said, “I’m doing this to inspire more people to join the campaign against HS2. The project is a perfect example of how corrupt the system is.

“We are in a climate and ecological emergency—we don’t need a high speed railway.”

Activists from XR Doctors staged an action on the square where hundreds of people pretended to be corpses to highlight the health risks associated with climate change.

In Cardiff, hundreds of activists staged a “drown in” and listened to speeches outside the Senedd.

Several hundred people gathered in Manchester for a series of rolling protests throughout the day. Rebels danced to some “civil disobedience” to call for pension fund divestment from polluting firms.

And they marched through the roads to the Boohoo headquarters, chanting about the impacts of fast fashion and poor working conditions.

Northern rebels in the city are planning an action at Barclays on Thursday to draw attention to the financial sector’s role in polluting the Earth.

Rebels are planning at least nine days more action—everyone who can should stand with them against catastrophic climate change.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.