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London: The Extinction Rebellion Protests

The Extinction Rebellion launched a 10-day strike, the first action since the laws of the lockout was relaxed. The environmental advocacy group has met in cities throughout the United Kingdom, including London, Manchester and Cardiff. It says they are going to demonstrate until September 10. In London, the group attacked well-known sites, including Parliament Square, Tate Britain Museum, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Cathedral.
The community needs MPs to embrace their proposals for changes to help the environment. However, due to the current COVID-19 concerns, Extinction Rebellion has already received a letter from the London Metropolitan Police warning it that any meeting of more than 30 people will face fines of £ 10,000.

The group is also concentrating its campaign on UK airports. It asks the aviation industry not to return to “business as normal” after the Coronavirus pandemic. Activists are expected to rally around Luton, Leeds Bradford and Stansted airports. A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion says that “Many of us feel a desperate need to put pressure on them now, not wait until next year when the world has been pulled back to business as usual” On Monday, demonstrators protested outside the London Transport office in Stratford, East London, to highlight traffic-related air pollution deaths. They dressed as banshees, legendary beings that, according to legend, cried out to mourn the death of family members.

They were also demonstrating against proposals for a new tunnel in East London. Some of the other stunts that the group has organized are a “carnival of corruption” outside government offices, a “walk of shame” outside the Bank of England, and a silent demonstration outside Buckingham Palace.
What is Extinction Rebellion?
Extinction Rebellion (abbreviated as XR) is a global environmental movement with the stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse
Extinction Rebellion was founded in the United Kingdom in May 2018, with around one hundred academics signing a call for action to help it. After a few months, the XR was introduced by Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook, along with other activists from the “Rising Up” Movement. In November 2018, five bridges across the River Thames in London were blocked as a protest. In April 2019, Extinction Rebellion occupied five prominent locations in central London: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and the Parliament Square district. Citing inspiration from social movements such as Occupy, the suffragettes and the Civil Rights Movement, Extinction Rebellion aims to mobilize support around the world for a shared sense of urgency to combat climate change and the imminent sixth mass extinction. Several participants in the movement support detention and incarceration, comparable to the mass detention methods of the 100-strong Committee in 1961. The movement uses a stylised, circular hourglass, known as the extinction sign, to warn that time is running out for many species.

Extinction Rebellions website, at the time of the group’s inception in the UK, stated the following aims
1. The Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
2. The Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2025.
3. The Government must create, and be led by the decisions of, a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Based on the Extinction group’s goal, reducing CO2 emissions to almost zero in six years will be highly ambitious. There would be a need for severe restrictions on flying. Diets will have to improve by significantly decreasing the amount of meat and milk. And, along with many other drastic reforms, there will have to be an increase in renewable energy.

Yet those participating in the Extinction Revolt argue that the survival of the world depends on it. “We have left it so late that we have to step up in a semi-miraculous way to deal with this situation,” said co-founder Gail Bradbrook. However, the group does not say what the solutions to tackle climate change should be. Instead, it wants the Government to create a “citizens’ assembly”, made up of randomly selected people representing a cross-section of society. Its members would decide how to solve the climate crisis, with advice from experts.

By Jumana Jabeer

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