Despite being less than two months old, Extinction Rebellion – the United Kingdom’s newest social movement – is rapidly gaining widespread media attention as a result of their noticeable publicity stunts.
In a bid to persuade the government to listen and act on issues surrounding climate change, Extinction Rebellion (or XR) have carried several demonstrations of non-violent civil disobedience.
This has attracted interest from the media and has even spread to other nations, as well as getting the public thinking and talking about the issues raised.
What do XR campaign for?
Formed in late October 2018, XR is focused on bringing about radical change to save the environment, aiming their message at the media and the UK government.
Among their many policies is the request to cut carbon emissions to net zero – a target XR believe is attainable by 2025.
XR also want the government and the media to tell the truth about the reality of climate change.
This movement has been backed by several notable names, such as the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and ex-Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.
Here, we look at six of their most daring and eye-catching acts of civil disobedience to date.
On November 12th, some activists glued themselves to the door of the UK’s energy department.
Others were lying chained together on the pavement and the Met Police claims that eight were arrested in total, as reported by the BBC.
And two days later, on November 14th, with the movement gathering pace and popularity, there was more gluing.
Protesters super-glued themselves to the Downing Street gates, with reports of 27 arrested, according to the BBC.
London bridges blocked
In perhaps their most high-profile mass protest, XR activists blockaded five major bridges in central London on November 17th, causing widespread chaos and traffic disruption.
There were reportedly thousands (according to The Guardian) of protesters present on Blackfriars, Lambeth, Southwark, Waterloo and Westminster bridges.
This was dubbed “Rebellion Day” as efforts to get the government’s attention were ramped up.
Four days later, on November 21st, in yet another demonstration involving road blocks, XR protesters were responsible for “swarming”.
This involves blocking the roads at several locations, each for less than 10 minutes at a time.
This tactic has since been reused by XR members.
New Zealand water protest
The XR movement has spread across the world and inspired action by a dozen of protesters in New Zealand.
On Thursday December 20th, several protesters cut off the water supply to Environment Canterbury’s headquarters, stuff.co.nz reports.
The protesters are opposed to how Environment Canterbury is dealing with the region’s water and managed to cut off the supply for three hours, making the office unusable.
This act led to five arrests.
On Friday 21st December, XR protesters gathered outside the BBC offices, preventing staff from entering or leaving the building.
The activists were keen to let the BBC know their feelings on how climate change is reported.
In fact, XR protesters were asking to speak to director general Tony Hall to broadcast the truth about climate change with “the level of urgency placed on informing the public about the second world war”, The Guardian reports.
XR has been endorsed by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old Swedish girl who has shot to fame for her protests back in her homeland.
Thunberg boycotted school in protest at her government’s refusal to lower carbon emissions as per the Paris Agreement.
Although the strike took place before the formation of XR, Thunberg spoke at the movement’s “Declaration of Rebellion” and is an active supporter and advocate.