09/10/2019

Extinction Rebellion Kick Off Two Weeks Of International Protests Against Climate Change

NEWS.com.au - Natalie Brown | AAP | AFP

Climate protesters in New York stage a graphic “die-in”, as two weeks of international civil disobedience to “save the Earth from extinction” begin.
Extinction Rebellion protesters covered in fake blood gather around the Wall Street Bull in New York. Source: AFP
Tourists gawk at a bloody scene in New York City as a series of protests begin around the world, demanding much more urgent action against climate change.
Activists with the Extinction Rebellion movement smeared themselves — and emblems of Wall Street — in fake blood and staged a “die-in” in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
“The blood of the world is here,” said Justin Becker, an organiser who made a link between the fossil fuel industry and the financial interests of Wall Street. “A lot of blood has been spilled by the decisions of the powerful and the status quo and the toxic system that we live in.”
New York City is one of many big cities around the world — from Sydney to Amsterdam — where activists are protesting as part of a two-week-long campaign.
Demonstrators stopped traffic in European cities including Berlin, London, Paris and Amsterdam from Monday. In some cities, they chained themselves to vehicles or pitched tent camps and vowed not to budge. Hundreds of protesters have been detained by police around the world.
“Getting arrested sends a message to the government that otherwise law-abiding citizens are desperate,” British IT consultant Oshik Romem, told AFP. In London — where Extinction Rebellion was founded — 276 people have already been arrested.
Hundreds of climate change protesters have been detained by police in major cities around the world. Picture: Timothy A. Clary/AFP
A protester covered in fake blood is arrested by NYPD officers after staging a ‘die-in’ near the Wall Street bull. Source: AFP
The activists are demanding that governments drastically cut the carbon emissions that scientists have shown cause devastating climate change.
“People are rebelling in these numbers because they realise the time to address this is right now, not in 2050, or even 2025,” Extinction Rebellion tweeted, referring to “net zero” climate emissions pledges by some governments.

What Is Extinction Rebellion?


Established in the UK in May 2018 by members of the social and environmental justice organisation Rising Up!, Extinction Rebellion (XR for short) is an international movement that “uses nonviolent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse.”
Its founders include former organic farmer Roger Hallan and Gail Bradbrook, who formerly worked for an organisation seeking better internet access for the disabled.
The organisation launched last October, when more than 1500 people assembled on Parliament Square in London, in a peaceful civil disobedience to announce a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government.
Since then, the movement has staged a series of protests around the world, often featuring marchers in white masks and red costumes, splashed in copious amounts of fake blood.
The group — which uses an hourglass inside a circle as its logo to represent time running out for many species — wants governments to declare a "climate and ecological emergency” and take immediate action to address climate change.
According to its website, XR has three demands: tell the truth about what is happening to the planet and declare a climate emergency; act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025; and to reform democracy to create a citizens assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Activists outside the New York Stock Exchange. Picture: AP Photo/Richard Drew
An activist is arrested by police in Amsterdam. Picture: Romy Fernandez/AFP
Policemen carry away an activist in Vienna, Austria. Picture: Helmut Fohringer/APA/AFP
A climate protesters sits outside Britain's Parliament in central London. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Greta Thunberg looks on during the climate change rally in Rapid City, South Dakota. Picture: Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg — whose searing UN address in September made international headlines — and academics studying the world’s rising temperatures and sea levels have backed the group, who have rejected the idea that they’re “a bunch of law-breaking anarchists or economic terrorists or ecofascists.”
“We are strictly nonviolent and reluctant law-breakers” from all ages and walks of life, they say on their website.
While nonviolent civil disobedience is central to XR’s tactics, though the group urges members to accept that they’ll risk arrest and charges, and should step outside of their comfort zone.
“We have a duty to disobey this system which destroys life on Earth and is deeply unjust,” its website says.

Action So Far
Tens of thousands of people from major cities around the world have heeded Extinction Rebellion’s call since last October, with the group saying that emergencies like the one heating up the climate demands action from everyone around the world.
In the weeks that followed their launch, 6000 protesters blocked five bridges across the Thames and, on other occasions, members performed stunts such as supergluing themselves to the gates of Downing Street — where this year, they poured buckets of fake blood on the road outside to represent the threatened lives of children.
On Monday — the first day of the fortnight’s protests — Metropolitan Police in London had already made 217 arrests in relation to the protests, with XR expecting the demonstration to be five times bigger than those held in April.
In Madrid, around 300 activists occupied a bridge that serves as a major traffic artery in the Spanish capital; and in Amsterdam, Dutch police detained 50 people who had refused to leave a roadblock they had set up on a main thoroughfare in the city centre.
More than 30 New Zealanders were yesterday arrested in Wellington, where hundreds blocked central roads, ministries and stormed a bank branch in the city.
And in Dublin, hundreds of environmental activists took part in a mock funeral procession through the city, with a large pink boat unveiled outside the heart of the Irish parliament in Leinster House.
Protesters dance on the Pont au Change bridge as they take part in an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in Paris. Source: AFP
Police arrest a climate activist in London. Picture: AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali
Protesters hold banners reading ‘Pollute, consume and shut your mouth’ and ‘Burn the capitalism not oil’ during a demonstration in Paris. Picture: Jacques Demarthon/AFP
Back in April, more than 1100 protesters were arrested when XR brought major disruption to London, where over the course of 11 days some of the city’s busiest routes were brought to a standstill.
Internationally, XR estimates an additional 440 of its activists have been arrested since their launch, including close to 70 in New York, where in June activists blocked traffic.
Several German protesters chained themselves outside Angela Merkel’s Chancellery in Berlin earlier this year — where more than 3000 protesters participated in actions, and in Paris, the police used pepper spray to clear activists blocking a bridge over the Seine.

What’s Happening In Australia?
The organisation’s Australian branch makes similar demands to the UK’s, stating that the government must declare a climate and ecological emergency, and must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Dozens of climate change activists have been arrested across the country — with the first day of their “spring rebellion” seeing 30 arrests, including four teenage girls, in Sydney.
Extinction Rebellion protesters are arrested at Hyde Park in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia
Activists dressed as bees take part in a die-in protest in Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley
Sydney protests. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley
In Melbourne, 10 people were arrested, with one activist refusing to enter a bail agreement, and who will now appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court.
“We have tried petitions, lobbying and marches, and now time is running out,” Australian activist Jane Morton told AFP.
“We have no choice but to rebel until our government declares a climate and ecological emergency and takes the action that is required to save us.”
Demonstrators have blocked roads in Sydney — where they had to be forcibly removed — and in Melbourne, there were similar scenes as the group took over the city’s streets.
In Canberra, protesters played dead on one of the busiest roads in the nation’s capital, while in Brisbane, they used poles and chains to make arrests difficult.
Protester Miriam Robinson said the group must “get right up in people’s grills” to convince governments to take firm action on climate change.
“We always apologise for causing inconvenience,” the retired public servant told Sydney Morning Herald.
“But this is nothing compared to the inconvenience that is going to start happening when we start to run out of food and water.”
An activist from Extinction Rebellion with his arm in a barrel of cement on George Street, Brisbane. Source: AAP
Police make arrests on Spring and Collins streets in Melbourne. Picture: David Crosling Source: News Corp Australia
Protesters are seen in Russell Street in Melbourne. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
XR first emerged in Australia in March, in a 24-hour protest at a railway affecting coal miner Adani, where a young woman suspended herself from a tree above the trailway and other protesters stormed the tracks, with one locking themselves to a train.
In May, thousands of activists staged a “die-in” in the streets of Melbourne’s CBD, and in August, 70 protesters were charged by police after a rally brought traffic to a standstill.
Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are among the 60 cities around the world who will participate in this fortnight’s rallies.

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