Extinction Rebellion Disruption Set to Target Leeds’ Financial Sector This Week

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists are set to cause disruption in Leeds this week, starting at 10am on Monday 15th July at Leeds City Square. The planned actions aim to target the financial sector in Leeds, that it argues has connections to the fossil fuel industry.

Leeds isn’t the only city set to face disruption by Extinction Rebellion on Monday. As part of the movement’s ‘Summer Uprising’ plans, simultaneous protests will be taking place in five UK cities, each focusing on a different aspect of the environmental crisis. 

Outside London, Leeds is home to the UK’s largest and fastest-growing financial sector as a result of successive Conservative government policies of investment in the North of England. A spokesperson described Extinction Rebellion activists as “ordinary people from all walks of life who want to see urgent action to prevent climate breakdown”, aiming to “make a stand and demand the financial sector act now to stop financing the fossil fuel industry.”

Extinction Rebellion was established in the UK in May 2018. They became a household name in April of this year, after campaigners occupying five central London sites brought parts of the city to a standstill. The movement uses civil disobedience and non-violent resistance to draw attention to the growing problem of climate breakdown, demanding immediate action from the government.

The burning of fossil fuels, which remains the primary source of energy across the globe, emits harmful greenhouse gases responsible for an enormous acceleration in climate breakdown. Despite this, the finance industry continues to invest in fossil fuels; global financing for fossil fuels has tripled since the Paris Agreement, from $612 billion in 2016 to over $1.9 trillion in 2019. In addition to pressuring financial institutions to stop investing in fossil fuels, Extinction Rebellion has urged people to look for ethical banks – banks who have stopped investing in fossil fuels, guns, and armament.

From July 15th, Extinction Rebellion campaigners will be causing disruption in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, and London. Although each city will see a different action, demonstrators across all sites will demand that the government acts immediately to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

Voicing his reasons for joining the movement, Extinction Rebellion protester Reverend Jon Swales said:  “The science is clear. Unless we radically change the way we live, we will face the full force of climate catastrophe. I want to play my part in raising the alarm for the sake of the world’s most vulnerable, and the next generation.”

Extinction Rebellion has advised anyone who would like to get involved to sign up and join the actions. Those joining the Leeds movement, gathering at Leeds City Square from 10am on Monday morning, are advised to wear yellow. You can follow the Summer Uprising movement unfolding across the country by tracking the hashtag #ActNow.

Image: Sam Gillibrand, Extinction Rebellion.