London police tried to control the massive protests taking place for the second day in a row in London yesterday, arresting nearly 300 people who were blocking streets and bridges, and vandalizing buildings as part of the “Extinction Rebellion.” The aim of the protesters was to disrupt the flow of traffic, and it seems they succeeded because the city shut down 55 bus routes and police estimated that 500,000 people were impacted.
- Protesters cited the need for more urgent climate action.
- One told Sky News that they had to take more drastic action like blocking the bridges because other protests, marches, and letters to Members of Parliament had not achieved measurable progress.
- “Nothing is being done of any real significance,” she said. “Our demand is the government must tell the truth about the crisis we’re in. And that includes working with communities to build resilience.” They are specifically targeting cars in an effort to get more Londoners to use mass transit, according to the BBC.
The BBC also reported that the Extinction Rebellion, which launched last year, has since then organized smaller protests that poured buckets of fake blood outside Downing Street, blockaded the BBC and stripped semi-naked in Parliament.
The three demands of the Extinction Rebellion are: for the government to “tell the truth about climate change”, to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress. The citizens’ assembly is a key component of their campaign. One of the founders of the organization told the BBC, “Let’s have people decide what matters most to them, is it the health and safety and the ability to feed their own kids or does it matter to them that they carry on having holidays and meat?”
- Protesters have said these demonstrations and disruptions could go on for days or even weeks. The Extinction Rebellion organized similar protests in November of last year. Similar protests were held in 33 cities around the world.
Why This Matters: As if things were not enough of a mess in Britain already with the Brexit crisis, now, days of protests are bringing parts of London to a standstill. But, if you think this couldn’t happen here, think again. There were small Extinction Rebellion protests in several U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., yesterday, and in Denver today they are holding a “funeral for the Earth.” There is a U.S. Chapter of the Extinction Rebellion, and many major cities have chapters as well. Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside the Republican National Committee yesterday. There is a radical left of the climate movement, and it is not Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.