Update: Extinction Rebellion actions at BBC sites across the UK, plus Berlin
December 21, 2018 by Extinction Rebellion
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On the ground: London: +44 (0) 7878535968; Bristol: +44 (0) 7765243856; Birmingham: +44 (0) 7985728464; Sheffield: +44 (0) 7724199484; Glasgow: +44 (0) 7917702083; Manchester: +44 (0) 7397190480; Cambridge: +44 (0) 7725594205; Truro: +44 (0) 7792459146
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Climate Factsheet for Rebels https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/
- Activists in London, Bristol and Manchester have blockaded the doors of their BBC offices.
- In London and Bristol, activists have super-glued and locked-on outside BBC entrances.
- Rebels in London, Glasgow and Truro spoke on local radio shows.
- Hundreds have also mailed the BBC and Ofcom with letters and emails inspired by the Extinction Rebellion’s open letter to BBC Director-General Tony Hall.
Extinction Rebellion actions have taken place or are underway at a dozen BBC sites across the United Kingdom since early this morning. From Truro to Glasgow, protestors have been singing, dancing and engaging in non-violent, peaceful civil disobedience, calling on the corporation to adopt 8 key policy changes to face up to the climate emergency now threatening the planet.
Below are some highlights from actions happening across the UK and Germany:
Several hundred activists in London were banging pots and pans, making a noise to wake up the corporation. They also lit candles, to request for a light to be shone on the truth. Activists also blockaded the front and back doors of the BBC’s Broadcasting House and the main entrance of Wogan House with super-glue and lock-ons.
As Alex, 30, said: “the BBC needs to do something about climate heating. They’re simply not providing enough information – even Planet Earth (the tv nature show) didn’t discuss it! They have a massive platform and can reach a big audience. I am a taxpayer and I want my voice to be heard”.
Six people, incensed about the BBC’s inaction on the impending climate emergency, locked-on outside onto the BBC office entrance by the George Orwell statue. In an interesting twist of fate, the quote on the wall next to George Orwell’s statue reads ”If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.
One of the London activists, Rachel, felt it is the BBC’s responsibility to tell the truth about climate heating. Rachel said: “I care about the future of all children on the planet, we must all change our behaviour to protect them from the climate emergency. If our public service broadcaster will not tell the truth, people will not know about it and change their behaviour; they will feel betrayed”.
Jenny Shearer, who super-glued herself at the back entrance, said: “I was brought up on the World Service. It was like a family member. It was an umbilical cord to the world. When I lived in Africa i became politicised when I saw colonialism in action. I was told the BBC told the truth, that they could be trusted when I needed the truth. Over the years they have become less direct and more concerned about where their money comes from and more allied to government. At this time when we need them, where are they? We need education and to change fast and the BBC needs to be involved.”
Between 100 to 150 people attended the protest in Bristol, urging the BBC to take the climate emergency seriously. Pamela, an activist at Bristol, said that it has been a “peaceful and positive protest where people want the BBC to sit up and take notice of the impending climate emergency”.
Three XR activists locked on to the front of BBC Bristol’s offices. One of the locked on activists Kirsten, 53, said: “this action really spoke to me… I am really shocked by the silence of the BBC on this issue”. Another locked on activist Yanay, originally from New Zealand but who has lived in the UK for nearly 30 years, said he is “feeling very inspired as I am surrounded by a group of friends committed to avoiding an ecological emergency…[I] hope our presence here encourages the BBC to reconsider and speak out with their powerful and respected international voice on behalf of the urgent need for action to protect our sacred ecological systems”.
Over 40 people are attending the action in Sheffield, which began at 8:00am this morning. Their request for interview declined, enthusiastic activists banged pots and pans and made a lot of noise outside the BBC office. Dr Aaron Thierry, an activist at the Sheffield protests, said “we all admire the BBC, but they are letting us down on their coverage of climate heating and they need to up their game”.
Bing Jones, another activist at Sheffield, said “I’m a retired doctor and I feel devastated about government’s inaction on climate heating…the BBC must lead on informing everybody of the urgency of the impending climate emergency”.
Around 40 XR activists in Manchester appeared outside the local BBC branch, banging pots and pans and asking the BBC to tell the truth about the current climate emergency. Anne Bauer said: “The BBC is interested in football – it isn’t interested in the planet or people’s lives”. Activists spoke to BBC staff about the reasons for their action and the lead the BBC needs to take in informing the public about the climate crisis, handing a copy of the 8-point plan in person to the Manager of Media City. Activists blockaded an entrance at Media City for half an hour.
At the Rebellion in Cambridge over 35 people arrived to sing and dance outside the local BBC office. Nathan, from XR Cambridge, said that the protestors were in good spirits and are hoping to engage staff and journalists from within the BBC offices. Despite the protests, the activists in Cambridge were declined an interview by the BBC about the coverage of the ecological crisis.
Around 30 people gathered at their local BBC branch and were met by locked front doors. However, they were later given an interview with BBC Radio Scotland. The mood was positive, but emotional, with many expressing their sadness and anger about what has already been lost. Anna, 25, said: “the people of Glasgow have once again come out in the rain to ask that the BBC engages with climate heating and begins to tell the truth about the current crisis. Our planet is on the brink of catastrophe – if we don’t do something now, what will we say to our children?”
XR Rebels in Bangor delivered a giant Christmas card with XR’s 8 policy requests to BBC Cymru. The activists requested an interview to discuss the local impacts of climate heating, and were interviewed in English and Welsh. Holly, 33, said “we’re facing a potential decommissioning of Fairbourne village (a local coastal village), which is under threat from coastal flooding and coastal erosion as sea levels rise”.
People have gathered outside the BBC’s Birmingham branch in solidarity with the other groups around the country, and to deliver a letter to the BBC calling for a change in its policy. The atmosphere has been friendly, with lots of interest from passers by. Martin, an activist present at the Birmingham action, said: “this is Extinction Rebellion Birmingham’s first public action – we’re delighted to announce that we are here and that we will be taking many more actions in the future“.
Rebels in Truro organised a mass call-in to the Laurence Reed show (BBC Radio Cornwall) and were given space to discuss coverage of the climate crisis. Activists also gathered outside the New County Hall this morning, and more are now making their way for another action outside the BBC this afternoon. Paul, speaking from the scene, said “We need the BBC to have coverage commensurate with the emergency we’re in. The BBC may be better than some others, but it’s not enough, we need a lot more”.
XR Oxford have been at their local branch since 12.00 today, making noise at the BBC’s Oxford offices.
XR activists in Germany have also gathered outside the BBC’s branch in Berlin and listened to a speech detailing the BBC’s shortcomings in climate coverage; some took part in an impromptu ‘die-in’ in honour of the 200 species going extinct every day.
Notes to editors
1. Climate Factsheet for Rebels https://rebellion.earth/the-
2. About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almostntirely 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 group’s key demands are:
- The Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies 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.
Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/
3. About RisingUp
Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the RisingUp network, which 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.