Climate change protest ‘pauses’

Police remove Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Waterloo Bridge in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2019. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Climate. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Police remove Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Waterloo Bridge in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 21, 2019. See PA story ENVIRONMENT Climate. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Climate change protesters who have stopped traffic in a series of peaceful demonstrations across London will “pause” their rebellion in a bid to achieve their political aims.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) have announced they are switching disruptive tactics for political negotiations as they enter a second week of campaigning to have the government declare a climate emergency.

The group will no longer hold a picnic on the Westway by Edgware Road Underground station, which would have paused traffic on the busy A-road on the last day of the long Easter weekend.

It comes as the Metropolitan Police revealed 831 arrests have been made in connection with the demonstrations, and 42 people charged, as of 10am.

Farhana Yamin, the group’s political circle co-ordinator, said: “Today marks a transition from week one, which focused on actions that were vision-holding but also caused mass disruption across many dimensions (economic, cultural, emotional, social).

“Week two marks a new phase of rebellion focused on negotiations where the focus will shift to our actual political demands.”

She added: “We want to show that XR is a cohesive long-term, global force, not some flash in the pan.

“We can do that by showing we are disciplined and cannot only start disruptive actions but also end these when needed. We are not a rabble, we are rebels with a cause.

“Being able to ‘pause’ a rebellion shows that we are organised and a long-term political force to be reckoned with.”

The group hopes to negotiate with the Mayor of London and Metropolitan Police to agree that they be allowed to continue their protests at Old Palace Yard, in Westminster, and leave other sites.

Over the past week protesters have stopped traffic in Oxford Circus, set up camp in Marble Arch and created a temporary garden on Waterloo Bridge.

Members would commit to not disrupting other areas in exchange for Sadiq Khan speeding up the implementation of the Declaration of Climate and Ecological Emergency and considering setting up a London Citizens’ Assembly.

They will also set up a political taskforce to take forward public negotiations with the government, warning that they are prepared to scale up action depending on how much progress is made.

Neither the Met nor the Mayor’s Office would say whether
they were considering the proposals.

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