Extinction Rebellion are back, baby, and this time they've got a load of boats.
Following demonstrations in April – when the radical environmental activists shut down various busy roads throughout central London, notably with their big pink boat in Oxford Circus – the group is spending this week using a fleet of new colourful boats (and their own bodies) to block traffic in five UK cities: London, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow and Cardiff.
Today in the Welsh capital, Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters turned up outside Cardiff Castle at around 8AM with a green boat and a load of signs, to kick off what will be at least three days of peaceful protest. As usual, many of the XR protesters interviewed said they're prepared to be arrested as part of the demonstrations, as long as they're raising awareness about the climate crisis and encouraging politicians to do something about it.
There's no doubt they're raising awareness – their protests have been given as much media attention today as they were in April – but whether their tactics will have any effect whatsoever on policy remains to be seen. The Welsh government declared a climate emergency at the end of April, followed by the UK government at the start of May, but nothing's happened since. Completely unsurprisingly, the experts we spoke to about it suspected the declaration was merely a PR move, to give those in charge some more time to kick the can down the road.
As yet there haven't been any arrests in Cardiff, where protesters have also set up a campsite outside City Hall. In fact, it all looks very chill: besides the inevitable grumbles about bus diversions and "old people not being able to get to the shops", most locals and people on social media seem at least understanding, if not entirely supportive. Which makes sense, because if someone doesn't do something about the government doing nothing, we're fucked.
Photographer Mark Griffiths was in Cardiff today to document what happened.