At least six arrests have been made at the 'Extinction Rebellion' demonstration, Left Foot Forward has learnt.
Photo: Left Foot Forward
UPDATE: Extinction Rebellion now say 15 people were arrested, adding: “As conscientious protectors who are happy to be arrested, we have planned for this. We will support them as best we can and legal advice continues. But this is just the beginning…”
Climate activists have been arrested on suspicion of ‘obstructing the highway’ at a climate change protest outside Parliament this afternoon.
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that six arrests have been made at the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ demonstration.
The protest featured speakers including Caroline Lucas MP and writer George Monbiot, with hundreds gathering to call for swifter action on climate change.
— Josiah Mortimer (@josiahmortimer) October 31, 2018
The campaign group pledge to support non-violent direct action to demand the government declares a ‘climate emergency’ and commits to a plan for the UK to go zero carbon emissions by 2025.
— Newbury Green Party (@newburygreens) October 31, 2018
It is unclear yet who – apart from those named in the tweet – have been arrested.
George Monbiot and Donnachadh McCarthy among those STILL blocking the road outside Parliament: they are now directly risking arrest to stand firm against #climatebreakdown .#extinctionrebellion pic.twitter.com/c0Lno2P7us
— Rupert Read (@GreenRupertRead) October 31, 2018
The six arrested activists are still in custody at time of writing, according to the Met Police.
Extinction Rebellion say 1,000 attended, though figures are unconfirmed.
Thank you to everyone who joined us online and on foot. Over 1000 people gathered at Parliament Square and occupied the road for two hours as an act of nonviolent protest. 100s of people took part in the roadblock, including @Carolinelucas, @GeorgeMonbiot and @GretaThunberg… pic.twitter.com/saWfSWMvwZ
— Extinction Rebellion (@ExtinctionR) October 31, 2018
Wednesday’s demonstration comes ahead of a national day of action, Rebellion Day, on November 17th, where thousands of activists are expected to take part in protests across the UK.
One of the protesters, Alexander King, wrote for Left Foot Forward this week, saying:
“The prospect of being arrested again scares me, but I will risk my liberty again by taking part in the rebellion to ensure that young people now can grow up in a world that is still full of adventure and possibility.”
Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato also wrote yesterday:
“We are prepared to halt lorries entering fracking sites; to stand in the way of bulldozers building roads and block traffic along heavily congested and polluted streets.
“Direct actions like these have a long and proud history; it’s time to carry them through in a systematic way to protect the climate, and to be willing to be arrested for doing so.”
The protesters have released a ‘Declaration of Rebellion’ which can be read here. It states: “We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations,” declaring that the ‘bonds of the social contract [are] null and void’.
In a statement, Extinction Rebellion say their demands include:
“The government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency we are in, enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; and the creation of a national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes necessary as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.”
A spokesperson added:
“The disruption we have caused today is nothing to the destruction that is being unleashed by our leaders’ criminal inaction on climate and ecological breakdown.
“Just yesterday a WWF report announced that humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, yet Philip Hammond MP entirely neglected to mention climate breakdown in his budget. Our politicians have failed us. We must take our future into our own hands.”
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.