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Daily wrap: Wednesday 9 October – 18:03 GMT
- Sky News reports 500 extra officers have been drawn from “every force in England and Wales” to help police the capital.
- XR released more details of its plan to “shut down” London City Airport for three days, starting tomorrow morning. It said hundreds of activists were volunteering to block the airport by gluing their bodies to gates and doors. The airport responded by saying all guests would require boarding passes to access the terminal.
- Dozens of mothers and their babies staged a group breast/bottlefeed in Whitehall
- Prime minister Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley appeared on a panel at the Trafalgar Square camp wearing an XR badge and praising the protesters his son called “uncooperative crusties” on Tuesday
- The Metropolitan Police released a video of the building materials and other assets they seized from protesters in pre-emptive raids.
#SEIZED | Officers have seized many tonnes of equipment and structures that protestors had intended to use to cause huge disruption.
We carried out proactive operations before the protest began and continue to remove equipment to ensure disruption to London is kept to a minimum pic.twitter.com/5RXXFGm15Q
— MPS Events (@MetPoliceEvents) October 9, 2019
As of 2.30pm GMT, at least two bridges in the centre of Berlin (Jannowitzebrücke and Marschallbrücke) remained held by protesters.
“Many rebels use lock-ons which need to be cut open by police. This is what mainly holds the blocks,” David Weidner, from Frankfurt who has been protesting since Monday, told CHN. Protesters who do not wish to be tied on to the bridge offer support.
The country’s XR chapter put out a release on Wednesday with a deviation from the movements’ normal three demands (see below). XR France have added a fourth item asking for “an immediate end to the destruction of ecosystems in in the oceans and on land”.
The group called “on all French citizens to come and join us Place du Châtelet in Paris [where] rebels and supporters of XR have laid the foundations of a direct democracy and put into place citizens assembly”.
- Protesters were pulled from the gates of the parliament on Tuesday evening, but no arrests were made
- The group targeted fast fashion stores Penneys and Brown Thomas in Dublin on Wednesday
Wednesday 9 October – 15:03 GMT
Extinction Rebellion UK has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds from crowdfunding donations since Sunday, the group told CHN.
The response to a funding push, launched on Tuesday, crashed the XR website for around three hours, said Alice Browne, a spokesperson for the movement.
But the group remains in need of further support after police have confiscated equipment and targeted deliveries to the group in London’s city centre, Browne said: “We would like to explain to potential donors that we are still in need of donations. Rebels on the ground need food, tea, coffee, blankets, waterproofs, etc. This will help us keep the rebellion going for longer.”
Wednesday 9 October – 14:04 GMT
In the land of sun and coal, where both government and culture has shown an increasingly authoritarian bent in the past 12 months, the discourse around Extinction Rebellion has been marked by calls for exceptionally harsh treatment of the protesters.
Across the country, state governments are scrambling to introduce laws that target XR’s primary tactics of blocking roads and attaching their bodies to stationary objects with tougher penalties and increased fines.
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton has called the protesters a “scourge” and suggested mandatory prison sentences would be appropriate. Popular talk show host Kerri-Anne Kennerley said protesters should be used as “speed humps”.
“Put them in jail and forget to feed them,” she said, before reframing the comments as a “joke”.
Arrestees in Sydney were issued with bail conditions that restricted them from associating with any other XR members or entering the city centre. Civil liberties groups called the measures “absurd”.
Meanwhile a veteran campaigner with major environment group the Wilderness Society raised concerns XR was increasing polarisation and worried that they had misread the swerve to the right the country has taken.
This highlights the challenge XR’s more aggressive tactics pose for traditional lobby groups. Lest it be forgotten that XR’s first public action was to occupy the Greenpeace offices in London to accuse them of losing their way.
Former Greens leader and long-time associate of TWS Christine Milne tweeted that it spelt the end for the campaign group.
The fall of TWS. https://t.co/YEwZvRp0ds
— Christine Milne (@ChristineMilne) October 9, 2019
Wednesday 9 October – 12:28 GMT
Berlin police begin to squeeze protestors
After holding the site for 58 hours, the last activists left the main occupation site of Siegessäule, located in the German capital’s central park.
As of 12.30pm, the Marshall bridge, close to the Bundestag, was still held and activists had also flocked to Jannowitz bridge. Most sites, however, have been cleared by the police.
“Still, the mood amongst rebels is comparably good and cooperation with police is very positive,” David Weidner, an activist who has been protesting since Monday, told CHN.
Wednesday 9 October – 10:51 GMT
Opening the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo shared her support for the Extinction Rebellion protesters blocking her own city.
“Time is running out, and we need action at an unprecedented scale. We are facing threats of climate breakdown – the response that we’re seeing from Extinction Rebellion and young climate strikers around the globe should come as no surprise,” she said, adding that XR was building on the momentum for action with “peaceful protest and nonviolent action”.
“We share their concern for the future of humanity, and we must push forward with courage and ambition to change the status quo that has generated this crisis,” Hidalgo told the audience of mayors and city representatives. More than 70 mayors from some of the world’s largest cities are gathering in Copenhagen for the four-day summit to commit to more ambitious climate action.
Extinction Rebellion protesters are starting their third day of occupation of the Châtelet square in central Paris after holding on to the camp for a second consecutive night, despite the rain. Amongst the tents, a number of events are taking place throughout the day with a programme of talks, meditation, yoga and massage.
— Matthieu Brandely (@m_brandely) October 9, 2019
Located at the heart of Paris, the occupation of the square means a number of major roads going through the French capital are being blocked. There has so far been no police intervention to remove protesters – something which has come as a surprise for some given the heavy-police response to XR protesters blocking a bridge in Paris last June.
Others have suggested the police are “very annoyed” at the situation but are wary to dislodge protesters without causing more disruption in the heart of the city.
Speaking to France Inter on Tuesday, former French environment minister Ségolène Royal, called for the XR protests to be repressed.
“There is an instrumentalisation of ecology by these violent groups and we need to repress them very quickly because… it threatens to discredit all actions that are pro-environment that could end up being associated with this kind of aggression and violence,” she said.
Tuesday 8 October – 19:43 GMT
- As of 8 October at 7pm GMT, the global number of arrests has risen to 754, XR reported.
- Extinction Rebellion is mobile at an international level, contributing activists to neighbouring countries under an operation called “rebels without borders”. Hundreds of activists from Scandinavia have flocked to Berlin, while Madrid received support from teams in Barcelona and Portugal. Swiss activists have also migrated to Paris and Berlin and Welsh and Scottish protesters took to London.
- Dozens were arrested in Amsterdam, Vienna and Madrid. Activists also took to the streets in Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
- 30,000 have flocked down to the capital, XR claimed.
- As of 17:30 GMT the Metropolitan police had arrested 152 new protesters, raising the total number of arrests to 531.
- In the evening, police began to attempt to break up some of the camps pushing protesters away from the parliament at Westminster towards Trafalgar Square. The movement has warned that protesters would disperse to less convenient places if police attempted to oust them from chosen blockades.
- On Monday the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had slammed protesters as “uncooperative crusties” littering London with “heaving hemp-smelling bivouacs”. In response many activists owned the term on Tuesday, with #UncooperativeCrusty trending on Twitter.
- Extinction Rebellion figurehead and philosopher Rupert Read dismissed the “uncooperative crusty remark” as not “very seemly comments for a PM” and urged him to hear the movement’s message, which was “whether or not our children have a future”. “I really want you to hear that, and if you let that land I believe you will start to change your mind and start to act accordingly,” Read said.
“I don’t think these are very seemly comments for a PM to be making” says Rupert Read of Extinction Rebellion, after the PM branded the climate protestors “crusties”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 8, 2019
- Andrew Fraser, a Conservative made life peer by former UK prime minister David Cameron, was spotted in his dressing gown and slippers addressing protesters outside his home in Westminster.
- The movement sent out a new request for funds on Tuesday evening, after police reportedly confiscated vital equipment. Donations, an email sent in the late afternoon read, would “help replace… Pots, pans and cooking stoves, disability ramps and portable loos, solar panels, generators [and] lights”
- At Cambridge University, a lecturer in French literature Olivier Tonneau wrote to his students at the start of term to press them to support the rebellion and placing the movement in historical context.
- As of Tuesday evening activists were preparing for their second night in central Paris, Place du Châtelet.
- The group lost two of five blockades at Siegessäule.
- In New York City, nearly 90 activists were arrested after the earlier mentioned die-in on Wall Street, pouring fake blood on the iconic bull statue outside the New York Stock Exchange.
- Extinction Rebellion Columbia projected a black and white film onto the facade of the Colombian environment ministry, pitting president Duque’s claims that the country held no responsibility for climate change with policies taking place under his watch. His presidency would see deforestation chew through at least 900,000 hectares, the film noted, while also questioning policies supporting agrochemicals and fracking.
Anonymous extinction rebellion units executed a non violent coordinated action upon the facade of the Colombian environment ministry @MinAmbienteCo. Rebels report inconsistencies between what the president @IvanDuque Ivan Duque declared at the UN about Colombia’s pic.twitter.com/VlDrbKpLQ4
— extinctionrebellionbogotá (@XRBogota) October 8, 2019
- Elsewhere in Latin America, protesters took to the streets in Chile and Mexico.
- In Brisbane, Australia, an activist hung from Story Bridge in a hammock for six hours.
Tuesday 8 October – 11:32 GMT
As Extinction Rebellion’s October action enters its second day, CHN will keep you up to date with all the major developments. Bookmark this site.
Read our coverage from Monday here.
The story so far…
- Protests took place in 60 cities around the world, XR said, with more than 700 people arrested
- Arrests are a key part of Extinction Rebellion’s strategy, which aims to overwhelm the police and judicial system
Here are XR’s demands, quoted from their website:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice
- On Monday, XR protesters blockaded roads around the Parliament at Westminster, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Smithfield meat market
- 319 people were arrested, according to the Metropolitan Police
- Assets, such as cookware and shelters, were pre-emptively seized, leading XR to send out calls for provisions on a chilly autumn night
- Protesters were asked to refuse bail by XR, thereby occupying police cells and overloading the stretched police force, which is facing the prospect of a looming Brexit deadline on 31 October and the visit of the Queen to formally open parliament next week.
- Activists glued themselves to the doors of the Home Office and Department of Transport on Tuesday morning. Staff at the DofT were sent home
Trafalgar Square, 11.25am on a Tuesday morning
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 8, 2019
- Extinction Rebellion France pre-empted the global movement with an 18-hour occupation of the Italie 2 shopping centre in Paris on Saturday – a day which has been set aside by the gilets jaunes protests in the past 47 weeks
- Banding together in a joint critique of the excesses of capitalism, thousands of activists from Extinction Rebellion, but also the gilets jaunes, social justice group Comite Adama, and queer movements, blocked the entrance of Italie 2, chanting “Work, consume, and shut up”
- On Monday and Tuesday, hundreds of Extinction Rebellion protesters occupied the Place du Châtelet in Paris and the bridge leading to it. The occupation was and still is largely peaceful, with no police intervention
PARIS – Les militants @XtinctionRebel bloquent l’Ile de la Cité pour alerter sur l’urgence climatique.
Un véritable camp s’est installé pour tenir le plus longtemps possible. pic.twitter.com/2VCGG9vPco
— Clément Lanot (@ClementLanot) October 7, 2019
- According to Clean Energy Wire, more than 3,000 people set up traffic blockades in central Berlin
- Police attempted to remove the protesters overnight but were unsuccessful
- Early on Tuesday, police started clearing Potsdamer Platz but Großer Stern remained occupied
- No arrests have been made and reports are that the atmosphere is friendly and peaceful
- AAP reported “dozens” of arrests had been made as protesters hit capital cities across the country throughout Monday and Tuesday
- In Sydney the police arrested 30 on Monday, including four girls under the age of 16, according to SBS
- In New York, Wall Street’s famous bull statue was covered with fake blood and protesters warned there would be “broad disruption of business as usual”, the Guardian reported
Main image credit: Extinction Rebellion