As fires continue to rage in California, Extinction Rebellion approaches the end of its two-week London protest. The climate action group’s “UK rebellion” was another attempt to rouse the government into taking action on the climate crisis, after similar fortnight-long demonstrations in 2019.
To kick things off this time around the group descended on central London, leading to hundreds of arrests after protesters glued themselves to the ground in Westminster, blocked access to the Houses of Parliament and blockaded Lambeth Bridge.
Other stunts took place over the following fortnight, including a blockade of News Corp printing presses in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool. The group used vans and bamboo structures to obstruct delivery trucks leaving the presses, where nine papers – including The Sun, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail – are printed.
That action – during which a total of 76 activists were arrested – led to Home Secretary Priti Patel denouncing XR as “so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals”.
This week, Patel’s government was accused of having no plan to reach its own climate target, of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Experts at the Institute for Government think-tank said the government had been “rightly preoccupied by responding to the coronavirus crisis”, but that they showed no signs of breaking from a “business as usual” approach.
In a statement before the protests, XR said, “People know the truth: the government is failing to do what’s necessary to keep us safe. They ignored the warnings about coronavirus and let tens of thousands die. Now they’re ignoring warnings of 4C of warming from their official Committee on Climate Change, a warning that could result in billions of deaths.”
See more photos of the two-week action below (warning: contains nudity).