Extinction Rebellion suspends ‘public disruption’ tactics

Extinction Rebellion, 'swarming roadblocks' (with banner 'Rebel for life').
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On 1 January, environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR) stated that it will no longer stage its well-known blockades of UK transport networks. Instead, it will hold a major demonstration against government policy in April.
The activist network, formed in the UK in 2018, has regularly used civil disobedience to protest government inaction on climate change.
Protesters linked to the group gained notoriety for blockading train lines, airports, and roads. At the end of August, they blockaded London’s iconic Tower Bridge.

The statement

A statement from XR read:

As we ring in the new year, we make a controversial resolution to temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic.

This year, we prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks, as we stand together and become impossible to ignore.

While recognising “the power of disruption to raise the alarm”, the activists said the group would now focus on disrupting “the abuse of power and imbalance” by demanding politicians end fossil-fuel use.

XR is calling for 100,000 people to demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London on 21 April.

Draconian countermeasures

The group’s actions have infuriated the Conservative government and much of the media, among others. Many activists have been arrested, and the government is pursuing plans to further outlaw XR’s protest tactics.

Read on...

However, in its latest statement, the group argued:

The latest draconian attempt by the government to shut down and criminalise effective protest is only increasing public sympathy toward brave activists using their voices to stand up for justice and the loving protection of all humanity.

XR has been joined in its fight by radical groups such as Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil. Activists from the latter group splashed soup on the glass covering Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Sunflowers’ at London’s National Gallery in October.

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, resized to 770*403 pixels 

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