Arrests made at Extinction Rebellion protest in London

Extinction Rebellion activists initiated global demonstrations on Monday, with over 600 arrests already having been made in London alone. Organisers have stated that the protests, which have already seen people barricade themselves to vehicles and glue themselves to roads in central London, will continue for 2 weeks.

The activists are demanding immediate action from governments to tackle climate change. Demonstrations also took place earlier this year in April, although the organisation has stated that these latest ones will be 5 times bigger than before. 

Extinction Rebellion, founded in 2018, describes itself as an international ‘non-violent civil disobedience activist movement.’ The group has over 298,000 followers on Facebook and has the aim of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

Image: Extinction Rebellion

Thousands of people have joined the demonstrations, including Reverend Jon Swales, 41, a Mission Priest at the Church of England’s Lighthouse Church in Leeds and Associate Faculty at St Hild Theological Centre. He was among a group of church leaders who helped to create a ‘faith bridge’ over Lambeth bridge. Mr Swales stated: ‘The science is clear. Unless we radically change the way we live in the world we will face the full force of climate catastrophe.’ 

Police are taking various measures to try and control the protests and prevent disruption in the capital. Officers have set up a staggered cordon along Millbank and others were seen cutting two protesters from a car that had blocked Victoria Embankment. In an attempt to remove activists who had glued themselves to scaffolding in Trafalgar Square, some officers were in abseiling gear and using acetone syringes. 

Protesters of all ages were out on the streets showing their support for the cause. Laurie, 41 attended with her children Esme, 11 and Rafi, 9 respectively, ‘We’ve talked about the protests at home and the school knows where they are.’ 

Rafi added, ‘We’re here because we want the world to still be alive when we die.’ 

The girls are among a wave of young activists taking action in demanding that world leaders take climate change and its consequences seriously. Greta Thunberg, 16, has spearheaded a global campaign to take politicians to account for their lack of action and to urge them to make changes before it is too late.

On September 20th 2019, the teenager organised global climate marches, in which a record breaking 7.6 million people took part worldwide, making it the largest climate mobilisation in history.

Anna Matthews

(Images: Extinction Rebellion )