Environmental activists have coordinated non-violent protests including unfurling banners over Westminster Bridge and glueing themselves to the gates of Number 10 Downing Street ahead of ‘Rebellion Day’, a day of concerted civil disobedience on Saturday November 17th.
Two 37 metre banners were dropped from Westminster Bridge and activists are also protesting at Downing Street where they have blocked vehicle access and glued themselves to the gates.
Activist glued to a gate outside Number 10 Downing Street Credit: Mukesh Madhaparia
The actions are coordinated by Extinction Rebellion, a new movement calling for huge numbers of people to exercise their right to protest in a coordinated campaign of mass direct action and civil disobedience to force the government to address climate change.
Extinction Rebellion is demanding the government declares a climate and ecological emergency, commits to reducing to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and establishes a citizens’ assembly to oversee the changes.
Extinction Rebellion launched its civil disobedience campaign on 1 November 2018 2018 with 1000 protestors including Caroline Lucas MP and George Monbiot closing Parliament Square to traffic.
Five Bridges In Central London To Be Blocked On ‘Rebellion Day’
A protestor at Extinction Rebellion’s protest at the Department for Business. Credit: Thomas Katan
On 17 November 2018, ‘Rebellion Day’, protestors plan to roadblock five major bridges in the capital with the aim of bringing London to a standstill and forcing government to act decisively on climate change.
We are bold. We will not hide. We are all in open rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion says: “We are bold. We will not hide. We are all in open rebellion. We have informed the police and emergency services that these five bridges will be road-blocked: Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth.”
Organisers expect thousands to take part in the protest, with actions taking place around the country. As part of the campaign of civil disobedience protestors are prepared to be arrested with Extinction Rebellion claiming it has over 500 people willing to be arrested for the cause.
Protest Sees 85-Year-Old Arrested for First Time
85 year-old Reggie Norton was arrested for protesting against fracking. Credit: Thomas Katan
Earlier this week, Extinction Rebellion occupied the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Surgery with activists and ‘conscientious protestors’ glueing themselves to areas inside the building.
85-year-old Reggie Norton was arrested for painting the extinction symbol on the wall of the building. He has never been arrested before and has been released under investigation.
Norton said: “We are in the final chapter of this. The only way we’re going to solve a lot of the problems of the world, including climate change, is for all the nations of the world to come together. We are a family. The human race is all one family.”
A protestor at Extinction Rebellion’s protest at the Department for Business Credit: Thomas Katan
The protestors were challenging the Department’s support of fracking. Following the resumption of fracking at Preston New Road in Lancashire in October, the first time fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011, 37 earthquakes have been recorded in three weeks.
In late September three men who took part in a non-violent direct action against fracking and blocked access to the Preston New Road site in July 2017 were jailed. Their custodial sentences were overturned last month.
Social Media Influencer Urges Young People To Join Protests
"This is an existential threat. Young people should be angry and should be demanding change from their leaders."
— Damien Gayle (@damiengayle) November 14, 2018
Earlier this month social media influencer Jack Harries, behind travel-focused YouTube channel JacksGap which has over four million subscribers, delivered a ‘Declaration of Rebellion’ for Extinction Rebellion to Number 10 Downing Street.
A protestor at Extinction Rebellion’s protest at the Department for Business Credit: Leigh Broomfield
Harries said: “It’s time. We’ve been campaigning on climate change since we were children. We’ve always believed that a threat so urgent as climate change requires radical activism: for people to be brave and willing to risk anything to draw public attention to the threat of climate change and to put pressure on politicians to act to save our future.”
It’s my duty as a young person to make our voices heard and to force our governments to listen
Harries also took part in today’s action on Westminster Bridge and urged young people to get involved in Extinction Rebellion. He told the Guardian, ‘I feel that it’s my duty as a young person to make our voices heard and to force our governments to listen because, ultimately, it’s our future that’s at stake.”
Featured image: Extinction Rebellion’s banner being unfurled over Westminster Bridge
Credit: Mukesh Madhaparia