72 hours in Extinction Rebellion

By Cai Parry

"We must appeal to the public, and to those with the power to change things. Virtue signalling to those who already agree with you will not achieve that."

Climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) has hosted their ‘rebellion’ in several cities around the UK at the beginning of September. I’d never been to the epicentre of XR action before, but as someone who liaised with them in my local Youth Strike 4 Climate group, and is very sceptical of their action, I decided to satisfy my curiosity and spend a few days in London to witness the events.

Arriving on the first day of the London actions, I saw that dozens were already sat in the road around Parliament Square, and throughout the day until late, the Police made their way around the square arresting anyone who would not move. This made me, like most viewing from the outside, quite uncomfortable. Those being arrested seemed quite proud of themselves, but the fact is that sitting in the road has only managed to enrage many bystanders. Speakers at an event included Caroline Lucas and Nadia Whitmore, however little was to be seen of the protests in the media, where they sought to promote and gather support for Lucas’ Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill, which was being submitted to Parliament but required cross-party support.

Extinction Rebellion Police
How should the Police respond to XR protests?

The second day brought much the same kind of action as the last, but as this was the day that Boris Johnson had to make the tri