International Rebellion Update #2
April 17, 2019 by Douglas
International Rebellion, Day 2
The sun may not have been shining quite so brightly in London today – it may have even rained a little – but by golly does the rebel soul still burn bright in the capital tonight!
48 hours into the mother of all protests and Oxford Circus is still banging to the baselines of a pink boat, the DIY garden party on Waterloo Bridge is still buzzing, speakers are still serving out truth beside the mother of all Parliaments, and there’s still a beautiful village of tents, table tennis, and theatre at Marble Arch.
In total 290 Rebels have now been arrested, with police targeting people at random on Waterloo Bridge throughout the afternoon, then moving onto Oxford Circus in the evening. Yet with all that said, as of midnight, whose streets are these?
(Update: at 2:00am, and in stark contrast with Monday night, there appears to be no significant police activity at any of the four sites. Rebels had been ready for a tough night, but are welcoming the chance for some rest – let’s hope this continues all night!)
And it’s not just London where rebels have been showing resilience in style. XR Scotland has taken a bridge in Edinburgh; Dutch rebels have occupied the International Criminal Court in The Hague; and a slew of further actions spans across America, from San Francisco to Chicago down to Mexico; from Australia to India.
Rebels, we have done so very well, and we have only just begun. A massive thank you and a hearty hug of a well done to everyone involved in today’s actions. We are drawing attentions, opening minds, leading news agendas, and yes – we are changing the world.
For a sonic supplement to our updates, please check out the XR podcast, releasing throughout the week
A bridge too far? Not even slightly. Throughout the day, Waterloo Bridge was crowded with rebels, and jam-packed with dancing, poetry reading, and skateboarding children.
Rebels were returning trees and greenery to the bridge after the struggle to hold it the first night – evidence of a protest regenerating itself – and children were again covering the tarmac with chalk artwork and messages about the planet.
Police started arresting people apparently at random in the afternoon, swooping in every ten minutes or so in slow waves, and even nabbing one legal observer. But every rebel that got carried to the van was borne through cheering crowds. The first bout of arrests lasted for an hour or so, only to restart again around 9:00pm, when police seized another handful of rebels. As of 11:00pm, around 200 rebels still hold the bridge, the drums are playing, and the chilled vibe remains.
Photo by Anna Sherwin, Waterloo Bridge
Photo by Dan Bronks, Waterloo Bridge
Photo by Anna Sherwin, Waterloo Bridge
Meanwhile Farhana Yamin, one of the most respected climate change lawyers in the world, having represented various countries at the UN and helped negotiate the Paris Agreement, was arrested today at 3pm at Shell HQ. She had glued her hands to the floor, supporting the rebels who had redecorated the building yesterday and occupied the sight overnight. Her reason for taking direct action? “Because writing books wasn’t working”.
Farhana Yamin being arrested; and the two spray-painters, 24 hours after committing ‘criminal damage’, still out of custody
Parliament Square offered another day of gentle, cerebral protest – a welcome respite from the booming bass and stalking police of some other locations.
Although the Rebel numbers are low around the square, the blockade teams stationed there are a resilient bunch. Every schedule has been kept to, and every road has been held.
As a reward for their hard work, the day’s experts came to them, with speakers putting their soap boxes on the tarmac and addressing the blockaders directly. The day’s discussions mainly focused on the alternative economic models that might save us from extinction. A speech by Professor Joy Carter, a leading academic in geochemistry, was one of the highlights of the day.
Photo by Jo Peacock, Parliament Square
Marble Arch remains a citadel for the Rebellion, its village-like infrastructure growing steadily. Music continued throughout the day, a play about Monsanto was performed on a nearby street, and a bit of rain didn’t phase anyone.
About 50 Marble Arch Rebels took a slow march to Waterloo Bridge to bolster the road blocks when the arrests restarted there. On the way they stopped at a junction of Tottenham Court Rd for a Declaration of Rebellion. A second expedition of Marble Arch Rebels joined the Oxford Circus party when the police presence started building over there too.
Camp meetings are now being held daily at 9am and 6.30pm so local Rebels can congregate, and inductions for new Rebels are also taking place daily at 11am, 1pm, 5pm and 7pm. All welcome.
Photo by Tina Lawlor Mottram, Marble Arch
The pink party boat remains beached in the middle of Oxford Circus and the atmosphere has been electric all day, pulling in the public like nowhere else. Hundreds of people have been dancing, listening to speeches and poetry, then dancing some more.
In the afternoon XR Youth, who spent the day doing NVDA training and bopping to Samba in Piccadilly Circus, joined the party to huge cheers. But as rush hour hit the area was flooded (as it were) by police, and officers began plucking Rebels from the crowds to make quick arrests. The arrests continued every ten minutes or so well into the evening, and around 30 Rebels in all got carted away, yet the amazing atmosphere has remained. It feels like no tide can put out this disco inferno.
Photo by Andy G, Oxford Circus
Photo by Tina Lawlor Mottram, Oxford Circus
XR Scotland have been living up to the Scottish reputation for rebellion!
Today 700 people converged on North Bridge in Edinburgh, blocking the road for five hours and replacing traffic with music. The atmosphere was festive and colourful, the crowd bursting with dancers and drummers, skeletons, puppets and clowns. Those on the bridge were soon joined by five groups of ‘rebel rider’ cyclists, totalling 150 people, who had been performing critical mass -style disruption across the city. 29 courageous rebels obstructed police, and by doing so prolonged the block for several hours until their eventual arrests.
This followed the previous day’s Festival of Climate Reality: comparable to Bristol’s Spring Uprising, the event featured hourly cycles of ‘The Talk’ – including one version in Gaelic. There was a ‘Solutions Zone’ which saw discussion of responses to the ecological emergency; trainings in NVDA and legal rights, and an arts space. 500 people came to share their knowledge and solidarity – putting them in a good position for the following day’s action!
On the same day as the Festival, dauntless rebels in hung banners at Glasgow’s City Chambers and Finnieston Crane, and Edinburgh’s Victoria Street.
Rebels in London will be happy to hear that after today’s success, a large contingent of Scots will be descending south of the border to join the action in England. Most will be taking the night bus on Wednesday, arriving ready to join the rebellion on Thursday; many more are expected over the weekend.
Photo by Fraser Knight
Extinction Rebellion Scotland reckons 29 arrests have been made in Edinburgh so far as a protest against climate change continues on North Bridge @LBC
@ScotlandXr | #ExtinctionRebelion pic.twitter.com/aZjEmN4uvz
The banner at Finnieston Crane
Enjoy reading about the highlights of London’s Rebellion? Well now you can listen to them too thanks to Extinction Rebellion Podlets – mini podcasts about the day’s XR happenings. They’re being released every other day, and Episode 1, which covers events from the first glorious day of International Rebellion, is available for your listening pleasure here.
If you’d like to share a story from the ground or join our global crew of roving reporter ants, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d also really like to hear from rebels who are willing to share the ongoing stories of their Affinity Groups during the Rebellion. If this sounds like your cup of tea, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com.
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Getting involved in London’s Rebellion
The rebellion won’t last without rebels. To maintain the pressure necessary for change, we need fresh faces to help in holding our locations. This could means being willing to sit in the road and face down arrest, but there’s a whole range of other ways to support what we’re doing: whether that’s offering to steward or be a legal observer, to bring food or to help organise a site. Please, even if it’s just for a few hours, get down to a site and ask how you can help!
‘There will be an Extinction Rebellion public transport protest action tomorrow highlighting a particular aspect of the climate and ecological emergency’…
And above ground: on the 17th April Extinction Rebellion UK will dedicate a day of action in solidarity with the International Day of peasant struggle; we will be highlighting the links between our food system, land use, climate chaos and the ecological crisis
Day 2 and across the world rebels continue to disrupt in the name of ecological justice. We’re genuinely struggling to keep up with the sheer number of incredible actions taking place – each one a testament to so many hours of community-building and organising, and to so much courage and love. This is what change looks like.
We’re lost for words here, so will speak mainly in images.
In Australia rebels camp out as night falls on the steps of parliament in Melbourne
In New Zealand XR Ōtautahi marked the beginning of the International Week of Rebellion with a dawn vigil at sunrise on New Brighton beach. They joined together in meditation and set intentions for the coming weeks as the first people to greet the sun, sitting in an image of the earth drawn in the sand, and facing the rising tide. In symbolic solidarity with the pacific islands the group was swamped by waves as the tide came in.
“This is The Blood of Our Children” a peaceful demonstration today in Denmark as they poured symbolic blood outside Christiansborg to make the gravity of the #ClimateCrisis clear to their politicians.
Rebels in The Netherlands today occupied the International Criminal Court in The Hague, dropped a banner: “Make Ecocide Law”, calling to recognise ecocide as an international crime so that CEOs of oil companies and complicit Governments can’t get away with the destruction they cause.
© Maya XR France / CC
Credit: Ludovic Marin / AFP (for the photo Notre Dame)
Lamya Essemlali, President of Sea Shepherd France shared this message this morning.”fluctuated nec mergitur”. Bruised but still alive. A little like our planet. Notre-Dame has been saved in extremis of total destruction by the courage and action of some, supported by the fervor of all others. How do you not see a message? Believers or atheists, many are those who have moved to tears for our lady. How much did she realize how dear she was to our hearts before we thought she was losing her forever? Notre-Dame is the most beautiful copy of the natural cathedrals, the forests of which its builders have inspired themselves. And yet we are very little to move away when ancient forests and their priceless treasures are destroyed by our fires and by our bulldozers. Nature is an integral part of our culture and history, it is the first inspiration, the essential prerequisite. After a long emotion, an international effort begins to restore our lady and make her greatness. Let’s put as much heart to save the original work that we put to save its most beautiful copies. We will save not only our souls, but also our lives. ”
‘I wish we cared about our planet as much as we do about one pretty building’
#HumansofXR Photo: Marja Tonteri Tillgren
Yesterday, Extinction Rebellion Belgium kicked off the international rebellion week doing a double action in front of the European Commission. Presenting a human XR logo on the Shuman Square and in meantime blocking the road by activists pretending to be dead.
Village school protest climate change.
XR INDIA TEAM Gujarat
Location Dhanera Via Palanpur, Banaskantha Gujarat
In Mexico XR_Mex of course, they do it on the beach, rebellion that is….
“The time to act is now! We have been asking governments for many years to address the ecological crisis, from science, from the streets. But there is no time left to wait for an answer. That is why we are going to direct nonviolent action, so that neither governments nor markets can ignore the problem anymore. Rebélate for life and join the Rebellion for extinction!”
“Inherit me a future, not a sentence”
Rebels from across Nova Scotia marched on Halifax to demand media outlets and the province’s main energy producer take meaningful action on climate change. The protest resulted in four arrests and meetings with both the Chronicle Herald newspaper and the board of Nova Scotia Power! More details and media from the group can be found here.
Commuters in Chicago woke up to a sleeping giant today thanks to XRChicago!
Hamilton US die-in and march in downtown Hamilton.
Photo: Adam Schumacher
In San Francisco, California over 100 people gathered for rebellion. They painted the XR logo in the middle of the street in front of the SF Federal Building, blocking off the street and halting commuter traffic, sang in unison, declared an emergency for the planet, and launched XR Youth US (@XRYouthUS). It was an inspiring event and the first of many in the Bay Area! You can watch a video of it here.
#teamgreed gets put in a time out thanks to US Capitol Police!
Fish arrested for fighting for their future — at Republican National Committee (RNC).
And in an action not organised but wholeheartedly supported by XR, children in Mozambique showed their frustration today at the world’s inaction to the climate and ecological crisis, after Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones to affect Africa, destroyed millions of houses, left more than 1,000 people and many thousands still missing.
Those involved in writing these updates are excited but exhausted by the week’s events; we’re deeply, deeply appreciate of our fellow rebels around the world, and will do our best to cover their incredible, moving and inspiring exploits – but we can’t promise to catch everything! If you have a story that we’ve missed, please email us at email@example.com with ‘Story’ in the subject line.
Humans of XR
Photo by @ExtinctionR, at Piccadilly Circus
Freya, 21 from Bristol and conservation science student, supported XR Youth in their takeover of Piccadilly Circus. “‘One of the big reasons I’m here is that I think all of these problems are really affecting people’s mental health; I personally have really struggled with coming to terms with what we have done to the planet”
Photo by @ExtinctionR, at Oxford Circus
Chikere came down from Leeds with his family to show their support after hearing about the international rebellion. “We need to stand up for the environment, for things that cannot speak for themselves, like oceans.”
Amber from Bristol, an Early Years teacher, shares her motivation to join the protests: “As adults it’s our responsibility to promote children’s wellbeing and the most crucial way of doing this is to protect the planet that they will inherit and that we all share”.
Photo by @ExtinctionR, at Waterloo bridge Thank you for your courage today Jack!!
Meet Jack, who faced arrest for his action on Waterloo Bridge today. “People have written letters for 30 years and nothing has changed. We have need direct, drastic action to reduce the levels of co2 and prevent catastrophic climate change
Photo by Stav, at Oxford Circus
A special shout out to Niaohm from conscious catering, feeding hundreds of hungry rebels all day! “I’m here because I’m really scared about what’s happening, I just feel like I have a skill and I want to be here to support the fight so I can be using it.”
“Our three key demands on a bright yellow banner and, below that, a brave protester is carried off by the police.
We have to always remember what we are fighting for. A fairer, better, kinder world. And perhaps it is just about possible…” https://t.co/sc16AvnLjO
Thanks for reading this International Rebellion Update. Our team will be sacrificing a lot of sleep and time on the streets in the coming days because we know that sharing information will be key to our success as a movement. We hope you agree!
Good luck out there!