Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to achieve radical change in order to minimise the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse. A large number of activists in the movement have pledged to be arrested and go to prison.
According to Wikipedia, it was started in the UK in May 2018 and in October 2018 1500 people assembled on Parliament Square to announce a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government.
On 15th April 2019 they declared an International Rebellion. A spokesman said
The international rebellion begins and Extinction Rebellion will be bringing London to a standstill for up to two weeks. They will be blocking five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion where they invite people to join them for several days of creative, artist-led resistance.
Disruption of Traffic and Tube
Scotland Yard said 55 bus routes have been closed and 500,000 people affected. The London Evening Standard reported that over 200 people were arrested in London, mostly for breach of Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 and obstruction of the highway.
On 17 April XR said they would
non-violently disrupt Tube services in London to highlight the emergency of ecological collapse…In any other circumstances we would never dream of disrupting the Tube but this is an emergency. The disruption will rapidly increase the longer it continues. This action has also the important effect of alerting the public to crisis by disrupting their daily lives.
London Mayor of London Sadiq Khan responded:
I am extremely concerned about the plans some protesters have to disrupt the London Underground… It is absolutely crucial to get more people using public transport, as well as walking and cycling, if we are to tackle this climate emergency – and millions of Londoners depend on the Underground network to get about their daily lives in our city…[T]argeting public transport in this way would only damage the cause of all of us who want to tackle climate change”, while also stating concerns over safety of the action.
XR’s website says that “at the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary – we are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change.”
“Principles and Values”
Their principles and values include “breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation”.
XR’s demands and those of the International Rebellion are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.