'Red Rebels' join London climate change protests
More than 30,000 people came to London to join the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in October. Among the Bristol protesters were those from Bishopston aiming to spark conversations about Climate Change.
One of them, Janine, praised the resilience of rebels who were moved on, again and again, packing up, carrying and sharing loads. She said: “There was a whole sense of community. We did Bristol proud - and I was proud to be part of it.”
Lou Gray joined 73 other Red Rebels walking for 12 miles around Westminster, supporting all of the different actions with performance art, as she explained: “We paint our faces like mime artists and dress in red to symbolise the common blood of all mammals in danger of extinction, including ourselves. We walk in silence, moving in slow motion to symbolise moving between worlds and time. We create tableaux to convey the emotions involved in living in and loving a dying planet.”
One of the Bristol protesters who was arrested said: “I never thought I’d be holding hands with my husband in the back of a police van having been arrested for criminal damage outside the Department for Transport...but this is the action we feel forced to take.
“We are retired company directors having started a business in Bristol from nothing almost 30 years ago and nurturing it into a successful company with 25 employees and a £2.5 million turnover. We made sure our business was as ‘green’ as possible and that we looked after our staff and they shared in company profits. But what really is the point in these actions when our Government supports (and subsidises) huge fossil fuel companies? Any savings in CO2 we make personally are vastly outweighed by the huge amounts of CO2 that will be generated by additional air travel. The hypocrisy of the government in declaring a climate emergency and then planning airport expansion is beyond belief.”
Responding to criticism that the protests caused unnecessary transport delays, a spokesperson from XR said: “To Londoners, we are sorry for disrupting you. We don’t do this out of malice, we do it because we are scared and we care. For many of us, this is our home, and we love it too.
“The emergency is not separate from everyday life, people on the other side of the world are dying now. To the government we say: we are still in rebellion and will continue to raise the alarm on the Climate and Ecological Emergency until meaningful action is taken. We urge them to work with us to protect the planet that all of us hold dear, it is time to stop harming and start repairing.”