Police attempt to clear Extinction Rebellion protest camps in London – The Guardian

Police attempt to clear Extinction Rebellion protest camps in London - The Guardian
What is Extinction Rebellion and what are its demands?
Arrests were made under the order from early on Tuesday morning, beginning at the movements westernmost encampments on Millbank and moving into Whitehall in the late afternoon, where hundreds of tents had been pitched outside Downing Street.

Read more Officers gradually pushed their way up Whitehall, refusing to allow anyone bearing XR insignia through their lines and trying to filter them out of passing tourists and government workers.

In Brisbane, Australia, protesters chained themselves to intersections in the city centre and three people locked themselves onto barrels filled with concrete. A protester hanging from a harness beneath Brisbanes Story Bridge and brandishing climate emergency flags was taken into police custody and charged with unregulated high-risk activity.

Video: Edmonton police stand by as climate change protesters block bridge traffic | Sheila Gunn Reid

As a heavy downpour began, police officers in black overalls marched into the Whitehall camp and began snatching tents, snapping tent poles and guy ropes, and folding them up and carrying them away. XR activists remained non-violent and chanted at officers: Police, we love you. Were doing this for your children.

We all share an interest in climate protection, and the Paris climate targets are our standard in this, he told ZDF television. If you demonstrate against or for that, that is OK. But if you announce dangerous interventions in road traffic or things like this, of course that is just not on.

By 6.30pm police had largely cleared the Whitehall camp, although several dozen people remained, locked together in tents or under tarpaulins refusing to move. The road was closed and even people unaffiliated with XR were refused access to Parliament Square. Police riot vans with lights flashing inched their way forward as the remaining protesters blocked the road.

In Berlin, 300 people blocked Potsdamer Platz, placing couches, tables, chairs and flowerpots on the road. They earlier set up a tent camp outside German Chancellor Angela Merkels office out of dissatisfaction with her governments climate policy.

Video: Extinction Rebellion crusties too well‑organised for police | Times News

Extinction Rebellion protesters criticised for ordering McDonalds

1) Tell the truthThe government must tell the truth about the scale of the ecological crisis by declaring a climate emergency, working with other groups and institutions to communicate the urgent need for change.

2) Net zero emissions by 2025The UK must drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions, hitting net zero by 2025.

Well stay here until the end and if they must remove us by carrying us out, moving us out or using tear gas, we will be here, we will remain united, non-violent, said Clement Schneider, 26, from Fribourg, Switzerland.

3) Citizens assemblyThe government must create a citizens assembly to hear evidence and devise policy to tackle the climate crisis. Citizens assemblies bring together ordinary people to investigate, discuss and make recommendations on how to respond, in this case, to the ecological emergency.

Some activists camped at Melbournes Carlton Gardens overnight before marching to a street corner locked down by more than 100 protesters in inclement weather. Police arrested 59 people for blocking an intersection.

Video: Climate activists deliver 1000 sapplings to UK Parliament | AFP

In the US activists have added a further demand: A just transition that prioritises the most vulnerable and indigenous sovereignty [and] establishes reparations and remediation led by and for black people, indigenous people, people of colour and poor communities for years of environmental injustice.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appealed Monday to the protesters to stop blocking Londons streets. He called the activists unco-operative crusties who should abandon their hemp-smelling bivouacs.

Thank you for your feedback. Before the camp was cleared, Hazel McGee, 76, said: At the moment Im locked into an iron tube because I wish to stay in Whitehall. Im making a statement about the most important thing in the world now, which is that we start acting to prevent climate change, and in particular getting to tipping points where we cant turn back.

McGee, a former editor of an astronomy journal, now retired, added: Boris Johnson and the current government are doing nothing. They are subsidising use of fossil fuels, subsidising the oil industry and preventing renewable energy becoming what it must be, which is the way of making civilisation work.

She said she was planning to refuse to cooperate with police in the hope that her arrest would help to overwhelm their ability to deal with the protests.

In Canada, the demands are similar: the movement wants the government to “tell the truth about how deadly our situation is”; pass into law policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by the year 2025; and create a “citizens’ assembly” to decide on actions needed to fulfill goals.

Lou Korda, 49, lying nearby with activists holding a tarpaulin over her to keep her dry, said she did not want to give up the Whitehall site. We need to take action, she said.

Instead of petitions or letter-writing campaigns, the movement focuses on non-violent civil disobedience. “We are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change,” the organization’s website says.

Dinah Taylor, 66, who was locked together with Korda, said: Ive been doing it all my life. All my voluntary work has been in conservation and in education about the environment, and its got to the point that things are getting worse. The government is not listening to us and Ive got to use my body because theres nothing else I can do.

According to the website, the movement kicked off in October, 2018, when protesters in London, U.K. gathered to “announce a Declaration of Rebellion” against the British government. They only expected maybe 200 people — but 1,500 wound up attending.

Read more Police tried to move in on protesters camping on Horseferry Road. Activists on the scene said it was still holding fast at about 5pm.

The Metropolitan police said in a statement: Any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion autumn uprising … who wish to continue with their assembly must go to Trafalgar Square and only assemble in the pedestrianised area around Trafalgar Column. The condition does not have a time limit.

“This means economic disruption to shake the current political system and civil disruption to raise awareness,” the website says. “We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience that this causes.”

Climate activists block roads, march in global protests

The force appears to have modified its use of the tactic. In April, orders were imposed on certain protest sites individually over the course of several days rather than across the city all at once. Officers were also not reading the order put individually to activists, instead shouting the order across crowds and telling people to consider themselves warned.

Extinction Rebellion has been calling for protesters to block bridges and disrupt traffic. On Monday, they blocked bridges in cities such as Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton, Kitchener, Ont., Victoria and Vancouver, leading to dozens of arrests. Protests were also held around the world.

At 5.30pm, the Met announced it had made 212 arrests, making a total of 531 over the two days of protest so far, it is understood.

"Joining thousands of rebels across the globe in a week of direct actions, a team of climbers from the Extinction Rebellion in Quebec has scaled the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and opted to redecorate the structure," the group said in a statement.

#Watch the below message from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence TaylorNow over 500 arrests in relation to Extinction rebellion made over the last day and a half with help from our colleagues across the country pic.twitter.com/jVb8FMBtdY

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Earlier on Tuesday, Mike Schwarz, a solicitor at Bindmans, a law firm that specialises in protest cases, said the number of cases meant he and his colleagues were reaching capacity and risk not providing a quality service.

The stunt was part of a series of protests Extinction Rebellion has staged so far this week, including blocking other bridges across Canada Monday. More than 100 protestors also joined a demonstration in downtown Montreal Tuesday evening. 

Even as they fought to keep hold of their central London protest sites, XR activists were beginning to prepare for their next phase of action, a sit-in protest at London City airport planned to last at least three days.

In a statement circulated through social media, the group said: The plan is to do a Hong Kong-style occupation of the terminal building, lying, sitting or gluing-on in front of the departure and arrivals gates. If we fail to get inside well blockade the space outside the doors. As this poses no risk to the airfield safety itself the action is non-violent, safe and open to everyone.

Three environmental activists surrendered and were taken into custody after climbing Montreal's Jacques-Cartier Bridge in a protest Tuesday morning that prompted provincial police to close the structure off to traffic.

On Monday the activist group Extinction Rebellion blocked bridges across Canada in Halifax, Toronto, Kitchener, Ont., Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

The protesters, two women and a man with Extinction Rebellion Québec, had begun climbing the bridge before sunrise, and surrendered just after 8 a.m. ET. Traffic was moving again in both directions by 8:40 a.m.

While the climate action group may have been relatively unknown until now, they've been expanding rapidly around the world.

According to research on conflicts between non-state and state actors around the world between 1900 and 2006, it was found that 53% of nonviolent campaigns were successful as opposed to 26% of campaigns that used violence, the Extinction Rebellion website states. Moreover, of the violent campaigns, 95% had descended into dictatorship or totalitarian rule within five years.

It was formed after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 C that said policymakers have only 12 years to stop global catastrophic climate change. 

The group is also concerned about findings that suggest we have entered the sixth global mass extinction event. Its symbol is an hourglass in a circle that represents time running out.

If people turned on their vehicle radios, they would have learned that theres a climate rebellion underway. Thats precisely what the Extinction Rebellion protesters were hoping to achieve. And that was reinforced by the late-night newscasts, which made the climate the top story.

Police negotiate with climate change protester hanging off Brisbane bridge

The group says that its first protest in 2018 drew 1,500 people to Parliament Square in London. It has spread now to more than 60 countries with 350 local groups.

According to their website, there are more than 30 XR groups across Canada, with both local and provincial groups.

According to the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, theres still time to take action to turn this situation around. Extinction Rebellion argues that to date, governments have been utterly negligent, justifying a popular uprising.

According to the group, it "uses nonviolent civil disobedience" to stop the mass extinction of life on Earth and "minimize the risk of social collapse."

Secondly, governments must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and reduce consumption levels. Thirdly, Extinction Rebellion is calling for a national Citizens Assembly to oversee the changes.

Writer and activist George Monbiot is also a strong supporter of XR. Speaking from London with CBC News, he said one of the reasons he supports the group is because it's unlike anything he's ever seen before.

"It's really the first movement in my life that's been of sufficient scale to address this issue," Monbiot said. "I've been an activist and journalist in this field for 34 years, and there've been lots of movements coming and going, and a lot of them have been great … but none of them has reached this scale and this impact."

Macdonald Bridge reopens as morning protest ends with 18 arrests (10 photos, update)

"It sucks. I really don't enjoy being here. I don't like blocking a bridge, and I don't like being in conflict with police," said Kevin Imre, one of the organizers of the XR Toronto group. "I have a job, and I don't want that to be challenged in any way. I have a life that I live, and I'm not someone who enjoys conflict. But I sincerely believe that if we just wait to do a once-a-year climate march, it's not going to make a God damn difference."

Around noon, the Berlin police sent another squad of emergency forces and considered clearing the crossroads, but they did not have to do so. Berlin’s interior senator had previously announced that the protesters would first be allowed to go ahead and that protests should be dealt “with a sense of proportion”.

Imre said that he understands why people, like motorists, might get angry, but he hopes they get angry with governments for not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions and protect biodiversity.

The Extinction Rebellion, which originated in the UK, announced protests to take place in 60 cities worldwide. Indeed, public places were occupied in France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Sweden, UK. Demonstrations also took place in New York, Buenos Aires and Australia.

Extinction Rebellion: Call centre worker joins lawyer, vicar and ex‑deputy head to fight for the planet

"Our collective building is on fire," Imre said. "The house is on fire, and I hate to say that, because that sounds like something a climate activist would say, but genuinely, it is a crisis and should be treated that way."

Protests by climate activists took place in 60 cities around the world on Monday (7 October). The Extinction Rebellion movement has announced its intention to block Berlin for a week as it wants to urge politicians to do more to protect the climate. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Extinction Rebellion plans to shut down London City airport this week

"We are facing the biggest predicament that humankind has ever encountered, which is the rapid collapse of our life support systems," Monbiot said. "And unless we step up and respond to this huge predicament with a huge mobilization, it's just going to continue."

FDP leader Christian Lindner also had some harsh words to spare, saying that “Extinction Rebellion openly questions democracy. Climate activists and Greens should distance themselves from the anti-democratic and partly totalitarian statements of this group.”

Laurie Adkin, an associate professor at the University of Alberta's department of political science, said that it's unclear why XR has grown so quickly. But she has a few ideas why it could be. One is that we're seeing an older generation of climate researchers and people concerned over climate change taking part after decades of inaction. And she also said that XR might have some staying power, simply because the human race and biodiversity is at the end of its rope.

"I think it has a lot of growth potential, because the crisis we're facing is truly an existential one," said Laurie Adkin

The demands of climate activists go far beyond what is currently the subject of political debate in Germany. They demand that all national governments immediately declare a climate emergency and that a citizens’ assembly adopt necessary measures.

But, she added, if it's done on a large scale, it's more effective, since authorities can't arrest everyone.

Nicole has an avid interest in all things science. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books.

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