Over 1000 people block Parliament Sq to launch mass civil disobedience campaign demanding action on climate emergency
October 31, 2018 by Richard
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- A “Declaration of Rebellion” has been made against the UK Government in Parliament Square for its inaction on the climate emergency and ecological crisis
- George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas MP, Greta Thunberg (the 15-year-old currently breaking Swedish law by refusing to go to school due to inaction on the climate) and Green MEP Molly Scott Cato joined more than a thousand people for a non-violent civil disobedience act that closed down the road in front of Parliament and launched Extinction Rebellion
- Conscientious protectors of the earth also locked on to each other in the middle of the road to further increase the disruption and highlight the emergency
- Thousands support the rebellion online, pledging future arrest and involvement in a further series of actions planned for November
Demands include that the Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency we are in, enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; and the creation of a national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes necessary as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
Environmental group Extinction Rebellion today called for a nonviolent uprising against the criminal inaction of the British government on the climate emergency and ecological crisis. 
At 12 noon today, after talks, music and ceremony, George Monbiot, Julia Bradbury, 15 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg from Sweden, Caroline Lucas MP and Green MEP Molly Scott Cato declared a rebellion against the UK Government. More than a thousand people then stepped out into the road to block traffic and shut down Parliament Square, causing gridlock across Central London.
The “Declaration of Rebellion” included speeches from:
- Greta Thunberg – the Swedish 15 year old who is breaking Swedish law through her School Strike For Climate, which sees her seated outside the Swedish Parliament refusing to go go to school  said: “We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children. We need to wake up and change everything.”
- TV presenter Julia Bradbury said: “I’m here with Extinction Rebellion today shouting out for a global climate change policy in light of more tragic news from WWF that global wildlife populations have crashed by 60% since 1970.”
- George Monbiot – who recently advocated in The Guardian that a people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown  – said: “We are here to keep fossil fuels in the ground … to not only protect what we still have but to bring back what we lost.”
- Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton and Hove, said “This is the only way we will get those in Parliament to listen.”
- Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, said “We are here because we have a deep love and spiritual connection to the planet. We must rise-up. When the law tells you to support something that your deep inner voice is fundamentally against, you should take non-violent direct action. Let’s end hypocrisy.”
Extinction Rebellion is planning a series of disruptive actions from 12th November, leading to Rebellion Day on 17th November. 
As the IPCC made clear to the world in October, we have twelve impossibly short years to achieve the biblically difficult task of getting off fossil fuels and transforming the global economy, or face truly terrifying, worst-case consequences. Scientists, economists and a rising tide of ordinary people understand that we face societal collapse and mass death as inevitable, with human extinction a real possibility, if rapid action is not taken now.
Extinction Rebellion stated:
“The disruption we have caused today is nothing to the destruction that is being unleashed by our leaders’ criminal inaction on climate and ecological breakdown. Just yesterday a WWF report announced that humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, yet Philip Hammond MP entirely neglected to mention climate breakdown in his budget. Our politicians have failed us. We must take our future into our own hands.
“Today we pledge, in accordance with our consciences, and with a clear duty to our children; our communities; this nation and planet; a non-violent rebellion on behalf of life itself and against our criminally negligent government. The abject failure to protect citizens and the next generations from unimaginable suffering brought about by climate breakdown and social collapse is no longer tolerable.
“We will not stand idly by and allow the ongoing destruction of all that we love. Our hearts break and we rage against this madness. We have both a right and duty to rebel in the face of this tyranny of idiocy, of this planned collective suicide. Join us.” 
Following a short extinction ceremony, honouring those who have died and those who will die as a result of the British government’s criminal inaction, protesters stepped out into the road surrounding Parliament Square and took part in a sit-in disrupting traffic.
The group’s key demands are:
- The Government must admit the truth about the ecological emergency
- The Government must reverse all policies inconsistent with addressing climate breakdown, and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens
- The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels
- A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
Extinction Rebellion also stated: “If the government does not respond seriously to the our demands, civil disobedience will commence from 12th November. Now is the time because we are out of time. There is nothing left to lose. It is our right and our duty to follow our consciences and rebel.”
“We do not take the step of disrupting the lives of Londoners lightly, however given the inaction by successive Governments to respond to the climate crisis we face, we have to raise the alert,” Stuart Basden commented from Extinction Rebellion. “We feel deeply that if we come together as ordinary people and communities in the limited time we have available to affect change, we can face this crisis together. The first step is to ensure people are fully informed of the extreme gravity of the situation.”
Gail Bradbrook of Extinction Rebellion added: “The time to stand up for our world, the ecosystem in which we all live, has come. Supporters of Extinction Rebellion have held almost a hundred talks and workshops all around the country so far, with the aim of mobilising people to take part in civil disobedience actions to highlight our perilous plight.”
“We understand that this may lead to arrests and possible imprisonment. We are ready for that. It is a sacrifice we make with great consideration. It is clear that we need to have the courage to put authentic and real pressure on the Government to take action to solve the ecological crisis, otherwise what future do we have? Let alone our children or grandchildren. The IPCC fails us, our Government fails us, the NGOs have failed us. Business as usual is no longer an option.”
- Declaration of Rebellion text – https://rebellion.earth/declaration/
- https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2018/oct/08/ipcc-climate-change-report-urgent-action-fossil-fuels-live; https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2017-07-02-three-years-to-safeguard-our-climate.html
- About Extinction Rebellion
Website: https://risingup.org.uk/XR/; facebook https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/; Declaration of Rebellion facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1588038141300204/; Rebellion Day facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1758991460816073/; twitter https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR; hashtag #extinctionrebellion
The Extinction Rebellion (XR) will be declared at Parliament on October 31st 2018. Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction 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 its Government. The Rebellion centres on demands for Government to tell the truth about our dire situation and to act accordingly, including to decarbonise our economy by 2025, in a mobilisation of war time like proportion. A Citizens Assembly will oversee the transition to a world which would be far more beautiful, less frenetic and with meaningful work for all.
The Guardian: As the fracking protesters show, a people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/18/governments-no-longer-trusted-climate-change-citizens-revolt
Medium: This 15-year-old Girl Breaks Swedish Law for the Climate. Greta Thunberg skips school to protest outside Swedish Parliament: “If grown-ups don’t give a shit about my future, I won’t either.” https://medium.com/wedonthavetime/this-15-year-old-girl-breaks-swedish-law-for-the-climate-d1a48ab97e3a
The RisingUp network 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; whilst the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.