The moment of truth arrives – International Rebellion begins

Email: press@risingup.org.uk

National Office Phone: +44(0)7986671716 / +44(0)7561098449 / +44(0)7804743058 / +44(0)77391 86640 / +44(0)7479234522
Bristol/Wales (We Are All Crew): +44(0)07722062502 / +44(0)7495297625
North England (Rewilding North): +44(0)7794718962 
South West England (Global Food Justice): +44(0)7711898499 / +44(0)7778267833
East of England and Midlands (Love Rebellion): +44(0)7548691855 / +44(0)7877769492
South East (Beyond Politics): +44(0)7857445653
Scotland/North East/Cumbria (Power in Truth): +44(0)7904591052 / +44(0)7507888837
London A (Burning Earth): +44(0)7459518464
London B (The Beacon): +44(0)7760 889153
London C (The Future is Here):
Animal Rebellion (The Garden City): +44(0)7464739319
Global Justice Site: +44(0)7983236252 / +44(0)7795360527

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London. We Owe You an Apology (Video)

Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. 
History is calling from the future, a hundred years from now, half a hundred years. Ten. Today. 
Calling the conscience of humanity to act with the fierce urgency of now. 
This is the time. 
Wherever we are standing is the place. 
We have just this one flickering instant to hold the wings of the world  in our hands, to vouchsafe the future. This is what destiny feels like. 
We have to be greater than we have ever been. 
Dedicated, selfless, self sacrificial. 
Only when it is  dark enough can you see the stars and they are lining up now to write Rebellion across the skies.

Let us take a moment, this moment, to consider why we are here. We are leaving our homes, our towns, our loved ones, and taking to the streets of our capital cities in nonviolent rebellion once again. Many of us will risk our freedom out of fierce love for these lands and all its inhabitants. 

To every member of the public we say this: We need you. Something is happening across these lands. You know it is, you can feel it. We are calling on every citizen to look inside themselves and recognise this moment and understand their own power. A power that has been dulled by these systems we live in. We say to every member of the public, that we can not do this alone. Extinction Rebellion will not solve this problem, and nor will Greta. The Time is Now.

As dawn broke today, many thousands of people from around the world entered a new phase of Rebellion against planetary inaction on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. With each hour that passes Extinction Rebellion groups across 60 cities began blocking roads, bridges and transport links with the intention of remaining until our voices are heard.

In London – despite a culture of fear being spread by Government in the rup up to Rebellion – several thousand people have been blockaded and blocked sites, roads and locations across Westminster. These include: Trafalgar Square, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge Millbank, Victoria, The Mall, Whitehall, Victoria Embankment, Horseguards Parade and Victoria Street. Smithfield Market will be blockaded this afternoon. 

There is no Plan(et) B. The government doesn’t have one. The things we trust in life that we don’t even know we trust, they’re all incredibly fragile. Extreme weather will tell this truth for us unless the Government does it for us first.  

A brief update from the sites! 

People at the Trafalgar Square have just blocked (11.20am) the road on the southwest of the square, there are people locked on to a van and police attempting to remove the. Approximately 700 people have gathered around them. A scaffolding block adorned with flags has become a temporary stage. People are sitting in circles on the road and chanting. Crowds are building up. Rumours are that some high-profile celebs will be around shortly including Juliet Steveson, Jack and Finn Harries. Expect surprises!

George Monbiot, said “This is the most important mobilisation of my lifetime. We are facing the greatest predicament humankind has ever faced, and we need to meet it with the biggest movement there has ever been. It is brilliant to see so many people with different skills and perspectives coming together to build this mass mobilisation.” 

Sophie 27, said: “This is our home, our planet, our future, and we are destroying it. The government needs to step up and tell the truth.”  

Located outside the Ministry of Defence: Road blocked at 6.15am with people locked onto fake nuclear missile and a car. 23 rebels arrested in total including a 81-year old Quaker and a 66-year old retired naval officer. Road still closed.    

Located on Lambeth Bridge. People from all over the country blockaded the bridge. Estimated arrests put at 12. Bridge remains closed. Prayers now being held by faith groups.

Rebekkah Mardall, 44, Education Adviser said from Lambeth Bridge: “I’m here because I have lost faith in the structures of government to protect us. It’s been a painful and reluctant realisation but I’m left with no choice but to rebel.”     

Over the course of this morning, spirits have been high at Downing Street at the Beyond Politics site which is focused on bringing light to the emergencies of democracy and the climate and ecological emergency which we face. It began with 200 people, then 500 gathering, blocking one lane, the two lanes of the road. There has been clapping, it has been peaceful and calm, with people sitting in the road singing. The samba band has just arrived! Police have made a couple of arrests. 

Linnet Drury, 16, a sixth-form student from Oxford, said: “I want to do everything in my power to put pressure on the government to act now on the climate emergency. As a young person I feel that my future by the inaction that they have. The climate injustice is so great that I am prepared to miss school.”

Jake Lynch, 54, Professor from Oxford, said: “We need citizen’s assemblies to be empowered to help us make the complex trade-offs required to change systems and lifestyles while protecting the most vulnerable in our community”.

500 people have blocked Westminster Bridge at both ends. Atmosphere is calm and people are holding yoga and meditation classes. 

A public health specialist, age 36, holding her baby said: “I was pregnant when the IPCC report came out last year, so it’s my responsibility to fight for her future.”

The Global Justice site moved to St James’ Park and have been gathering on site since a little after 9am, currently setting up several large tents. There have been no arrests and there is no sign of the police yet. 

Deepa Shah, a GP from London, says shes is “here because climate change is the biggest challenge we face. If we want to move to a more equitable future to safeguard health for all we need to act now”. Hannah, a Doctor from Edinburgh, has chosen to be here because “the climate is a global health crisis and we need to act now to be the change that we need to see”.

  • XR North West England – Rewilding North – Victoria Tower Gardens

Northern Rebels based at the Rewilding North site took Millbank at 9am, Dean Stanley Street and Great Peters Street – all three roads are closed, and merrily occupied by 200 people from the North West of England. So far, the police have arrested 6 people and taken gazebos, tents and food – spirits are high and the roads remain blocked by bodies. Police are arresting anyone sitting on the ground so further arrests are likely. The singing continues.

Tash, 28, from Liverpool, said: “This morning we took Millbank. The police tactics seem to be against our rights to protest nonviolent protest. But a bit of rain and the lack of gazebos isn’t going to stop us from rising up”. Sharon, 64, from Manchester, explained why she was at her first ever Rebellion: “I’m a grandma of 6 children and that is why I am here. I’m from Greenmount, Manchester and I’m here to add my weight to the rebellion”.

People are starting to assemble at Russell Square to prepare for Animal Rebellion’s overnight occupation of Smithfield Meat Market. Animal Rebels are gathering to form affinity groups and sing together before they commence their march to Smithfield. Around 150 people are already there, and they’re joined by the world record holding England athlete and vegan campaigner Fiona Oakes. Get involved here: http://www.animalrebellion.org/october-rebellion/

Esther Salomon, 19, from Southampton explained why she was there: “It’s incredibly exciting. People here from the animal justice community know this rebellion is going to be big – they know we can achieve radical transformative change to avert the climate crisis and bring about a plant-based food system, which will have such a big impact not just for animals, but for future generations and the ecosystems we all call home. Everyone here is raring to make these next weeks count.” 

Angela Duncan, 22, from Melbourne, says: “There’s a lot of anticipation. This is something we’ve been waiting for for a really long time.” 

Alan, 50, from Manchester says: “I’m here because I need to be here. We’re in an emergency situation and somebody needs to stand up and be a voice for the animals who can’t speak for themselves. I’m feeling tired but excited. I’ve got butterflies for what’s to come”.

As we write this the ‘We are all crew’ site are beginning to set up their site after a delayed start. Tents are set up on the corner of Marsham Street and Horseferry Road with a lorry blocking part of the road and people locked on beneath it. Police are currently surrounding it. The atmosphere is currently serene and peaceful with a group of ‘Aged Defenders’ dressed in silver cloaks and XR signs on their heads. 

The Power in Truth site are currently holding strong and demanding their truth be heard. Rebels have successfully blocked the road outside BEIS, with tents and gazebos in place. Several several hundred people are gathered at the crossing where Storey Gate meets Victoria Street and holding banners, singing, chanting and acting peacefully. So far 3 have been arrested, 2 of which were drivers of the food truck arriving to feed peaceful activists. Outside BEIS 4 people are locked on under the van carrying the site’s infrastructure for the weeks ahead and police are currently surrounding it, refusing to let it through. The atmosphere remains positive and calm with people singing. 

James Masson, 21, from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire said, “It’s inspiring to see so many people from all over the UK out on the streets to protect nature and sticking up for future generations to have a livable planet.”

This morning the atmosphere at the Love Rebellion roadblocks on Horseguards Parade began in high spirits and as groups of assembled rebels approached their roadblock targets they were met by scores of police who moved in quickly. 

They kettled and impounded two vans with infrastructure and arts equipment and confiscated food supplies. There have so far been ten arrests across the two sites, including van drivers. Aggressive stop and search procedures have been reported but the energy remains positive and lively. At the time of writing roadblocks at both ends are firmly held, with around 200 rebels at either end. Live music and an impromptu stage are up and running. 

“We have such high hopes and energy is picking up. The police have zoomed in, but we are not going home.  Come and join us, please. We have the best interests of humanity at heart. This is full of love and care.” Abie, XR Norwich, 43, gardener. 

Esther from XR cambridge says: “I’m excited, there’s a really great atmosphere. I’m here because I could not do anything else, I’m absolutely terrified about what’s happening- I’m a scientist and we’re just not listening to the facts.”

Frances, 49, cook from Portsmouth, visiting from East of England: “When I was up here in April, I saw that well-being played a really important role, and I wanted to help with that to help raise morale and offer my skills.”

  • XR Families & London – The Future is Here – The Mall –

The site was taken peacefully at 9am with police allowing XR Families, XR Kids, XR Elders, and XR London Groups to set up their infrastructure. A main stage and families area were set up by 10am. At 1.30pm Sir Mark Rylance will speak at the main Future is Here stage. 

Juliana Muniz Westcott of XR families said ‘We have triple the number of families here compared to April.”

Sir Mark formed part of the main roadblock, holding a pink banner reading Extinction Rebellion. Dozens of rebels are holding the roadblock at the Buckingham Palace end of the Mall. Dozens of families had camped overnight in Hyde Park and were ready waiting to erect the families gazebos and area of the Rebellion. 

The site lost half of its infrastructure over the weekend but XR Families have successfully fundraised over the weekend to replace all lost equipment and set up a safe site for parents and children wanting to join the rebellion.

Notes

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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