Newsletter 27: Global XR Actions

Hell hath no fury like a bank swarmed

25 JUL | Lausanne, Switzerland

XR Switzerland saw its first arrests after a hefty police response to an action outside a bank in the city of Lausanne. Around fifty rebels swarmed the road outside the Crédit Suisse HQ, whose heavy fossil fuel investments make it the country’s most polluting bank. Roughly the same number of police appeared within minutes, splitting the protestors into two groups, containing them for three hours, and subjecting them to ID checks and a patronising ‘Don’t do this again’ speech. Eight rebels were then arrested and taken to the local police station where they underwent a full body search and were kept in a cell for five hours, with one rebel forced to reveal her phone’s unique IMEI code.

The police overreaction did not intimidate the Swiss rebels, who are busy training up a flood of new recruits to prepare for their next series of actions. Plans are afoot for a disruptive tour of cities across the country in September, culminating with a grand finale in Lausanne (the Swiss rebel stronghold). Beside the calm waters of Lake Geneva, the strategy of non-violent disruption grows ever more popular.

Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March

1 AUG | London, UK

Extinction Rebellion rebels were honoured to be invited to attend the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March in London, joining the Ubuntu Non-Afrikan Allies Bloc. Ubuntu is an Nguni Bantu word that is often translated as ‘I am because we are’, and recognises that all beings are connected. 

Every year, the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ campaign collects and delivers a petition (which you can sign) calling for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice.

Madrid fight fast fashion in Primark

25 JUN | Calle Gran Vía, Madrid, Spain

There’s an awful running joke in China that you know next season’s ‘it’ colour by the colour of the river water. Among its many other effects on the environment, fashion is the second biggest polluter of clean water on the planet.

In light of this, 40 rebels from XR Spain descended on Primark’s flagship store on the Gran Via, Madrid, to host a dramatic ‘die-in’. They want the government to support an economic turn towards ‘slow fashion’. That is, corporations must be prevented from inciting consumers to buy and dispose of clothes at the current rapid rate.  The die in lasted for 10 minutes, when security guards came and asked the rebels to leave.

There is an urgent need for such prevention, not only in Spain, but worldwide. The number of clothes that any given person owns has gone up by 60% since 2000. As a result, the fashion industry now releases the equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 into the air each year, the same as international flights and shipping combined. 

The words of XR Spain seem fitting then, when they say ‘our house is burning, and no firemen have come to rescue us.’

Ghent city festival disruption

25 JUL | Gentse Feesten, Ghent, Belgium

It was the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures rising to 40°C and the first ever weather warnings for extreme heat released far and wide. Belgian rebels blocked the roundabout at Sint Jacobs with a 40-strong die-in to symbolise the loss of life we all face if we continue on our current path.

Belgian rebels headed to city festival Gentse Feesten to call out the government for their complete inaction and failure to take the emergency seriously. They called on the government to declare a climate emergency and set up a Citizen’s Assembly that will formulate an action plan to save our planet.

On the final night of the Feesten, they planted their call on the main stage to get new dancing rebels on board. And these rebels will be back! They have committed to taking action and to disrupting peacefully with love until the government takes real action.

XR Wellington’s Tour of the Coalest Little Capital

27 JUL | Wellington, New Zealand

XR Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) served eviction notices on four big coal industry bodies to highlight the enormous damage the quartet are doing to the environment. The message was clear: we don’t want you or your pollution in our city. Here’s a video of the action.

100 companies, almost all related to fossil fuels, are responsible for 71% of all greenhouse gases emitted. We have less than 18 months, according to top climate scientists, to stop our house from literally burning to the ground. Instead of asking individuals to do all the hard lifting, it’’s time to go to the source,– starting with the worst eco criminals: the coal industry and its enablers.”

XR make a Splash at WOMAD

25-28 JUL | Charlton Park, Wiltshire, UK

XR activists landed at WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival to much fanfare. We used our very own stage to capture imagination through talks and training throughout. On a main stage we reached out to festival goers with a rebel roar, followed by the renegade melodies of Undercover Hippy, keen supporters of our cause. A parade created massive community outreach, and we were lauded by acts including Ziggy Marley, and Orbital.

We powered our rebel camp with solar panels, and provided eco-friendly charge to countless festival goers. From start to finish our impact was electric; we were seen by thousands. We announced our presence with a hectare-wide crop circle, and finished by rafting over the crowd during Orbital’s set. We left our site spotless, have been invited back, and can’t wait to return. 

The Pink Ark is here!

3 AUG | Tintagel Carnival, Cornwall, UK 

You’ve seen the pink boat(s). Now, check out the Pink Ark! The Ark has made two appearances at local carnivals, and was lovingly made by Cornish rebels from XR Camelford. 

The ark is a hand-woven willow frame overlaid with tissue paper and laden with soon to be extinct species.

The public’s reaction to the Ark was overwhelmingly positive, with much recognition and applause and thanks for being there. Packs of bee-friendly wildflower seeds were distributed to children along the route and many adults took stickers and leaflets. It is hoped that the Camelford Pink Ark will next appear at Bude Carnival on Saturday 17th August. If you live in an area which has carnivals or street fairs why not make your own pink ark?

Wealden Council ACT NOW

24 JUL | Hailsham, East Sussex, UK

XR Ashdown Forest and XR Hailsham joined forces in a creative action to encourage Wealden District Council to declare a Climate Emergency. They did, but sadly only for a 2050 net-zero target. We won’t stop the pressure for them to act now!

XR Canada – Ann’s Walk across Canada to waken the nation

From 20 APR | Calgary, AB to Ottawa, ON, Canada

My name is Ann Cognito. I’m a 50-year-old Canadian woman walking over 3300 km from Calgary, Alberta to Ottawa, Ontario, our capital. I am doing this to raise awareness about the climate crisis, and to demand change from our government.

Travelling with my Jamaican Shepherd service/support dog, Mr Myrtle Sir (world famous climate gypsy puppy), I use a kickbike (or scooter, like children use, but adult sized) to help pull a dog trailer for MMS and our camping supplies and gear.

I set out on April 20, and despite some setbacks – an injured knee, theft, refiguring how to continue from where I currently am in Winnipeg, due to the decrepit unwalkability of the Ontario highways – I will arrive on our prime minister’s doorstep before our federal election this fall. I will present him with a gift, a request, a petition – and the Extinction Rebellion demands.

I will not leave until these demands are accepted and are being acted upon.

I refuse to sit obediently quiet while we can still make a difference. We can and must wake up to the existential crisis we are in.

Please sign and share the petition online, and please follow and share the Expedition facebook page. I ask these things regardless of what country you live in, because our government’s irresponsibility affects the whole world, and because we truly do have everything to lose, and our own future to gain.

join the rebellion