Socialist Worker

Stand in solidarity with Extinction Rebellion activists facing repression

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2763

Protesting at Ascot races in June

Protesting at Ascot races in June (Pic: XR )


The state is pushing through repression of Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate activists.

Four XR activists pled not guilty on Tuesday. They were charged with obstructing or disrupting a person engaged in a lawful activity after linking themselves to railings at the Royal Ascot races last month.

Jessica Agar, Samantha Smithson, Lucy Porter and Sally Davidson shackled themselves to railings beside the horse racing track. They also glued a banner that read, “Racing to Extinction,” onto the fence. 

The four dressed as catering workers—having worked at Royal Ascot during the previous days—which provided a disguise for them to perform their action.

The protest was said to have been a tribute to suffragette Emily Davison, who died protesting for a woman’s right to vote at the Epsom Derby races in 1913. 

In a statement Smithson said, “I’m really sorry to be disrupting this event. But unfortunately, like suffragette Emily Davison, we have been left with no other choice.

“We are running out of time in the race to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. We can’t negotiate with each other, or nature, for more time by carbon offsetting, while also promoting infinite growth on a finite planet and chopping down our ancient woodlands.”

The group face the same charge brought against anti-HS2 activists, who dug a tunnel near London Euston station earlier this year. 

Meanwhile, five XR activists appeared in court on Monday charged with criminal damage at the Brazilian embassy in August of 2019

Paint 

The group known as the “snowflakes” threw red paint over the embassy to symbolise the Indigenous blood spilt, especially under far right president Jair Bolsonaro. They also blocked the entrance to the building. 

The trial is ongoing. 

One of XR’s co-founders also appeared in court this week. Gail Bradbrook pled not guilty to the charge of smashing windows on Monday.

Bradbrook smashed the windows of Barclays’ bank to protest against its complicity in the climate crisis. She is likely to go on trail again in November. 

While wildfires rage in the US, images of the streets of flooding roads in west London went viral on social media on Tuesday. 

The climate crisis is here.

We need a bigger fightback to demand radical action to avoid environmental catastrophe.

This means that mobilisation against the climate crisis are essential, including XR’s planned rebellion in London on 23 August. 

For more info on the rebellion, go to extinctionrebellion.uk/next-uk-rebellion/

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