Extinction Rebellion are a loosely connected set of protester cells originating from the UK. Their aim is to use non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to take action on climate change. The group has claimed more than 80 cities in 33 countries will be subjected to protests between 15th and 26th April.
The distributed nature of the groups has made specific demands difficult to identify. Generally there is a theme of demanding Governments to reduce emissions faster and form “Citizen Assemblies” to agree action.
The primary tactic being used by the groups is to block roads and disrupt transport links during peak times. In London this has been achieved by turning Waterloo Bridge into a “garden bridge”, blocking it to vehicles but allowing pedestrians and cyclists to pass. A similar protest took place on North Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland.
While generally peaceful, over 300 arrests have been made. Most of these have been for public order offences after refusing to move when instructed to do so.
A deliberate attack was made on the Shell headquarters, causing several thousand pounds of damage. Extinction Rebellion claimed responsibility, which appears to be at odds with the “non-violent” claims the groups have made.
The protests are unlikely to effect change. Although weakened by Brexit, the UK Government has dismissed the protests. Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has issued a statement agreeing with the importance of tackling climate change and expressing concern about some of the tactics being used.
Image by __Andrew on Flickr and used under a Creative Commons licence.