9.30am Thursday: Trial concludes for five Extinction Rebels charged with criminal damage over DEFRA action - Extinction Rebellion UK

9.30am Thursday: Trial concludes for five Extinction Rebels charged with criminal damage over DEFRA action

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9.30am Thursday: Trial concludes for five Extinction Rebels charged with criminal damage over DEFRA action

  • Trial of five Extinction Rebellion protesters charged with criminal damage concludes Thursday, 9.30 am (4 April, City of London Magistrates Court).
  • Protestors spray-chalked DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to demand the government do more to protect food security as the climate crisis takes hold.
  • All defendants have pleaded not guilty, relying on the “conscientious protector” defence.

Five members of Extinction Rebellion are due to attend City of London Magistrates Court on Thursday for the conclusion of their trial for criminal damage, which began at Hendon Magistrates Court on 20th February.

The protesters, who have all pleaded not guilty, were arrested for spray chalking the DEFRA building as part of an Extinction Rebellion protest on 14th November last year. The action was one of a series of protests across central London that day in which at least 27 people were arrested. [1]

One of those charged – agricultural worker and mother of two Rosie Lancaster, 35 from Herefordshire – said:

“I have been witnessing the effects of climate change on the growing season over the last decade. Agriculture is extremely sensitive to changing conditions. Food production is already affected and soon the consequences will be dire.

“The government must do more to protect future food production. They need to legislate and financially support farmers to lower their emissions, to radically increase biodiversity, soil health and increase carbon capture. The new Agricultural Bill does not reflect the current climate emergency. I have lost faith that the government is acting in our best interests; either they are not reading the reports to parliament, or they just don’t care.”

In June 2018, the Committee on Climate Change reported to Parliament that carbon emissions from agriculture now account for a larger share of UK economy wide emissions than at any time since 1990. According to the Committee, the current voluntary, industry-led approach has failed to meet its emission reduction targets with 44% of farmers not even aware that they should be reducing their emissions. [2]

Rosie says: “In the current Agricultural Bill going through parliament, only one line mentions the possibility of future support to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This is a shocking omission, given the alarming warnings set out in the most recent IPCC report.” [3]

Also on trial is Lizzy Haughton, 23 from Somerset, a students’ union officer. Lizzy says:

“I acted on my conscience. When I was giving evidence the prosecution suggested I could have tried other, non-illegal tactics, but I’ve tried every tactic I can think of: writing to my MP, starting up an eco team at secondary school, putting on sustainability events at university, and going on marches. And nothing has changed; we are still in this situation.

“I don’t expect to get off the hook on this one, but I do hope to make a point in the court’s eyes. I hope they step up and realise that they, as the courts, have the power to stop the worst of climate breakdown.”

The other defendants are Christopher Allport, 29, an army veteran from Yorkshire, Laura Hughes, 38, a human rights law student from East London and Liz Beck, an environmental activist.

Not guilty – actions necessary to protect humans and animals from devastating harm as climate crisis approaches tipping point

All five defendants have pleaded not guilty. They argue that their protest was reasonable and proportionate in light of the severe consequences of inaction, and in line with their rights of freedom of expression and assembly protected by Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (incorporated into section 3 of the UK’s Human Rights Act).

The protesters argue they acted out of necessity to protect themselves and their families, and others all over the world, both humans and animals. They say they were defending both those who are currently suffering serious harm as a result of climate change, and those who are at risk of further, devastating harm once the climate emergency reaches an irreversible tipping point.

Coming up

  • 1-7 April Paint the Streets Worldwide: Disobey to Tell the TruthGlobal. Calling rebels willing to join a week of mass flyposting, using non-violent civil disobedience to tell the truth on climate breakdown and ecological collapse. We will use stickers, posters, banners and more, covering the streets with our messages, to shake awake our fellow human beings who are sleepwalking into disaster.
  • 15 April – International Rebellion – Global. Extinction Rebellion activists in the UK and around the world are calling for a full-scale international rebellion: to demand decisive action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world. Come to stay and book time off work.
  • Lots more protests and events! There are many other actions and events happening now in London and around the UK due to Extinction Rebellion’s decentralised structure (too many to list here). For the latest news, see the website: https://rebellion.earth/events/ plus also check out the facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/events/.

Notes to editors

  1. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/fifty-arrests-as-protesters-spray-paint-slogans-on-defra-hq-and-unfurl-huge-banner-on-westminster-a3990216.html
  2. https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CCC-2018-Progress-Report-to-Parliament.pdf  p.182
  3. https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report
  5. https://www.missionlifeforce.org/activist-toolkit/  
  6. International Rebellion begins 15 April –https://www.facebook.com/events/126622414898833/
  7. Climate Factsheet for Rebels https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/
  8. About Extinction Rebellion:

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.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. The Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens
  2. The Government must enact policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels
  3. A national Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events:

UK website: https://rebellion.earth/

International website: https://xrebellion.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR hashtag #ExtinctionRebellion

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! 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.

Website http://www.risingup.org.uk/;

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RisingUpUK/;

Twitter https://twitter.com/RisingUpUK

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