Extinction Rebellion (aka XR) international movement continues its non-violent actions in different countries to lure worlds attention to climate change and extinction of species, despite arrests and indifference of governments.
Extinction Rebellion, as it is written on their official web site, is: «an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.
Beginning from April there has been a range of XR public actions that rocked cities of various countries.
The outburst of protests happened on 15 April 2019. Thousands of people have blocked well-known landmarks including Waterloo Bridge in central London, bringing widespread disruption to the capital Great Britain.
Few simultaneous actions were held in London on 25 April 2019. Climate activists blockaded the London Stock Exchange by gluing themselves across the entrances. Protesters from Extinction Rebellion attached themselves to walls and to each other at the financial centre in the City of London. A group also climbed on to a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train at Canary Wharf and held up banners. Elsewhere in the City, temporary road blocks have been set up by activists at Bank and Southwark Bridge. Nine protesters also glued themselves together in a chain outside the Treasury, preventing people from the entering the Westminster building. Others glued themselves together on Fleet Street outside the Goldman Sachs bank headquarters.
According the Metropolitan Police 1,130 protesters of the Extinction Rebellion have been arrested in London as of 25 April 2019. The movement launched an assistance campaign to help its arrestees legally and to promote their stories in mass media. Also Extinction Rebellion posted a prison guide for the arrested protesters, though it raised certain controversy and had to be removed from the organisation’s official website. The guide advised that the risk of violence inside prison was very low because «most prison officers are black and do not wish to give you a hard time». It also suggested people should use their time in prison to «practise yoga» and «learn from their experience». The group had to ask for apologies for the totally inappropriate wording used in the guide.
On 4 May, 2019 Extinction Rebellion staged ‘die in’ at the European Commission. Inside the building of the European Commission climate change activists pretended to be dead bodies on the on the floor, while singing a version of the European Union anthem.
Actions of Extinction Rebellion were echoed around the world. Climate change protests were held in India where some school students and local activists gathered at Bhopal’s upper lake in solidarity with XR international rebellion week. There were speeches, dancing and music. A participant also read out a Hindi translation of Greta Thunberg’s speech to a large crowd.
On 20 April in Agormanya market, near Accra, Ghana, there was a big rally for market women. The women spoke about environmental issues – such as the pollution of Lake Volta (one of the world’s largest man-made lakes), which provides drinking water and livelihoods. Environmental issues affect women and children the most here and the market women are especially vulnerable as they can sell affected produce and rely on it to make a living. The area is quite environmentally friendly so people want to resist and air their grievances because they feel the government is not doing anything about it.
From 15 to 19 April, a relatively small in numbers Japanese local group of Extinction Rebellion followers staged two to five people protests in the Shibuya district, which is the centre of youth culture in Tokyo, to hold signs and try to get talking to the Japanese public. The activists stood behind a famous statue in the hope of photobombing tourists both Japanese and foreign. Activists claimed that «few people got extremely annoyed», but XR followers were also able to have conversations with a couple of Japanese people.
On 17 April XR activists poured sour milk on the steps of the parliament building in Wellington while dressed as cows. They explained their actions, as follows: «In New Zealand we call milk “white gold” because it is our biggest export, but intensive dairy farming has a sour side – it has led to us having some of the world’s worst rates of extinction, water quality and habitat and biodiversity loss. Another report on the state of our environment has just come out, and it is worse than ever before. It is like reading a Stephen King novel. Us Kiwis love our country and our natural environment and we are insanely proud of it, yet we seem to be largely oblivious that multinationalcorporates have laid waste to our Shire just like Saruman did to Hobbiton.»
In Irland XR activists organised their first major event to mark World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2019. They carried a coffin through Dublin City centre and gave it a mock funeral outside St Stephen’s Green shopping centre. 300 people still turned out at the event despite the bad weather.
Irish XR held a day of rebellion on 19 April where they occupied a bridge in central Dublin and demanded the Irish government take urgent steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. «Ireland has missed all of its legally binding EU emission targets and it’s time to fight back!» they stated.
In the course of the «rebellion» it was joined by Greta Thunberg, 16-years-old flag-bearer for the climate change protests and speech maker, who became famous for her frank and upfront criticism towards governmental ignorance in environmental protection issues. The girl was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Hollywood star Dame Emma Thompson joined London protest of XR on 25 April 2019. She has defended flying from Los Angeles to London to take part. The actress said it was “very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying” but she was “in the very fortunate position of being able to offset my carbon footprint». The Hollywood star said people were going to have to fly less as “the future of this planet is at stake”.
Despite all the troubles the movement has a schedule of weekly meetings and events planned until the end of May 2019. According to the Guardian initially the group planned to stage demonstrations in 80 cities across 33 countries. Anyway, Alexandra Batiy, the vice-president of the Eastern European Association of the Greens adds that it looks obvious that the Extinction Rebellion had recently become an extremely influential name in environment protection and it doesn’t look like they are going to stop before they reach their current goal witch is to make government reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.