Lawmakers have shown their whole asses by ignoring that climate change is upon us, so on Monday activists got semi-naked in British parliament to grab their attention.
A group of demonstrators with Extinction Rebellion, a campaign that demands that governments “tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency” and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, stripped in the House of Parliament’s public gallery, asking for “climate justice now.”
As members of parliament held an ongoing debate on Brexit, one “thank[ed] a colleague for ‘a cheeky intervention,” BBC East political correspondent Andrew Sinclair tweeted, “another thanks a colleague for ‘fleshing out the arguments.’”
“There is an emergency. It is not Brexit. It is the climate and ecological emergency,” a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion told Motherboard in an email.
Two activists sported gray body-paint and wore elephant masks; another protester who wore “a leather thong-style pouch” and glued his hand to the gallery’s security glass, Sky News reported.
“One by one they’ve all being dragged out,” Sinclair tweeted. The activists were later photographed being questioned by police, according to a tweet from Extinction Rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion said the direct action drew from a suffragette protest in the House of Commons in 1909, wherein (non-nude) protesters chained themselves to statues. A climate protest in 2009 by the group Climate Rush was similarly inspired.
“We are impelled to act in this way because the most important and pressing issue of our time is being flagrantly and recklessly ignored by our government and media,” Extinction Rebellion member Mark Øvland said in a statement.
Monday’s protest comes two weeks before a planned International Rebellion demonstration in London and other cities, which is also being organized by the group. Extinction Rebellion expects the event, which will be a two week-long sit-in, “to shut down central London for days on end.”
“By undressing in parliament, we are putting ourselves in an incredibly vulnerable position, highlighting the vulnerability that all of us share in the face of environmental and societal breakdown,” Øvland said. “There is an elephant in the room and it is demanding attention.”