Climate protesters stage mock funeral at Leeds Magistrates’ Court
Extinction Rebellion Leeds, Kill the Bill Leeds and the COP26 Coalition protest against Leeds Bradford Airport expansion and the Policing and Sentencing Bill outside Leeds Magistrates Court.
Campaigners are holding a funeral today both for Leeds’ carbon budget and the right to protest. The demonstration will take place outside Leeds Magistrates Court as protestors stand in solidarity with a fellow campaigner who was arrested earlier this year.
The campaigner was apprehended for throwing fake blood on Leeds Civic Hall’s steps in protest against Leeds City Council’s decision to allow the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport. Her trial for criminal damage, which was postponed last month due to technical problems, is being heard this morning.
Supporters of Extinction Rebellion, Kill the Bill and the Yorkshire and Humberside COP26 Coalition will carry a coffin outside the court to symbolise the ‘death’ of Leeds’ carbon budget, a reaction to the proposed expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport. There will then be a funeral procession to Millennium Square, where activists will unfurl six long rolls of red cloth down the Civic Hall steps with messages including “code red for humanity”, “airport expansion kills” and “kill the bill, save our liberties”.
Sam Townson, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Leeds, said: “When Leeds councillors supported airport expansion back in March, they signed a death warrant for the Council’s ambition to make our city net-zero by 2030. Leeds Climate Commission has calculated that if the airport does end up expanding, it would create more greenhouse gases than are allowed in the whole carbon budget for the whole of Leeds from 2030 onwards. That’s why we’re holding a mock funeral for Leeds carbon budget today. But the good news is that we can stop climate breakdown – there is still time. We can and we will stop Leeds Bradford Airport from expanding. We just have to make the right choices.”
Stuart Boothman, from the COP26 Coalition, also added that “We all know that we must cut global greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2030 to give us a realistic chance of preventing catastrophic climate breakdown. Expanding Leeds Bradford Airport would take us in the wrong direction – both for our climate and our economy. On top of that, the government’s proposals in the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would make it illegal to protest against the madness of allowing the climate crisis to get worse. We are here today to stand up for the climate and for our democratic right to protest and be heard.”