This Is Not a Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis with Direct Action

Demoncracy Now!: More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

This is protester Jake Lynch speaking from the streets of London.

JAKE LYNCH: Well, it’s now five months since Parliament declared a climate emergency, and yet we’ve seen no emergency legislation brought forward to take effective action to stem the climate crisis. So we’re still subsidizing fossil fuels more than any other country in Europe. Globally, carbon emissions are still increasing. We’re heading in precisely the wrong direction. We here at Extinction Rebellion are taking action to interrupt the flow of normality, because it is that flow that is carrying us towards disaster.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Extinction Rebellion launched in London last year and has since grown into a global movement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attacked the group’s protesters Monday night, calling them “uncooperative crusties.” Climate activist George Monbiot responded, tweeting, quote, “I’m proud to be an #UncooperativeCrusty. #ExtinctionRebellion continues. Come and see why Boris Johnson hates it so much, and how it challenges the life-destroying system he defends.”

AMY GOODMAN: In New York City, nearly 90 activists were arrested after staging a die-in on Wall Street, pouring fake blood on the iconic bull statue outside the New York Stock Exchange. Dozens were also arrested in Amsterdam, Vienna and Madrid. In Brisbane, Australia, an activist hung from Story Bridge in a hammock for six hours. Activists also took to the streets in Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Brazilian protesters held a die-in on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Protesters shut down the street in central Paris near the Notre-Dame, and hundreds flooded the streets of Berlin to demand action to combat global warming. This is German climate activist and migrant rescue ship captain Carola Rackete speaking from Berlin.

CAROLA RACKETE: [translated] As Extinction Rebellion, we demand that net emissions be reduced to zero by 2025 as part of an emergency program, as well as an immediate halt to the loss of biodiversity. What we also demand, and this is the interesting part, is that there be a citizens gathering which votes on the necessary measures. Extinction Rebellion will never make concrete policy proposals. We are saying the issue has to be handed back democratically to the citizens, who then decide on the measures together.

AMY GOODMAN: Protests continue today in cities around the world. In London, Extinction Rebellion plans to plant at least 800 trees outside of Parliament.

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