Today, 11am, London: International Rebellion begins - Extinction Rebellion UK

Today, 11am, London: International Rebellion begins

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NEW – What emergency?  
NEW – Extinction Rebellion in Numbers   

Today, 11am, London: International Rebellion begins

On 31st October last year, as autumn turned to winter, Extinction Rebellion declared its Rebellion against the British Government for its criminal inaction on the Ecological and Climate Emergency. We said:

“When Government and the law fail to provide any assurance of adequate protection, as well as security for its people’s well-being and the nation’s future, it becomes the right of its citizens to seek redress in order to restore dutiful democracy and to secure the solutions needed to avert catastrophe and protect the future. It becomes not only our right, it becomes our sacred duty to rebel.” [1]

Spring has come and the International Rebellion has begun in at least 80 cities, in more than 33 countries, as ordinary people call upon their governments to take decisive action on the climate and ecological emergency. [2] We are humbled and honoured that people from Australia to Ghana to Canada have heard the call. This is not about another march. Groups across the world will disrupt ‘business as usual’. Ordinary citizens, terrified by the threat we all face to our future, will risk arrest and imprisonment by blocking bridges, roads, harbours and transport systems. Die-ins, cry-ins, funerals, banner drops, ‘blood’ spilling, art and theatre will be part of a festival of global protest. In London, people are willing to be arrested and to stay. [2]

Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a normally conservative body, issued a wake up call to the world to say that we needed to radically change the way we live within 12 years. Six months on, and governments across the world are still failing to act, whilst the consequences get all the more chilling. [3] [4]

In the words of murdered indigenous activist Berta Cáceres: “We must undertake the struggle in all parts of the world, wherever we may be, because we have no other spare or replacement planet. We have only this one, and we have to take action.” [5]

Time to face the emergency

With this in our minds and hearts, we dare to take the necessary steps to begin to face the emergency we live in. All are invited, all are needed. We need to disrupt the system that through no fault of its own, is geared to destroy our planet.

We’ve tried petitions, marches, letters, reports, papers, meetings, even direct actions; and global emissions have continued to rise. Governments prioritise the short term interests of the economic elites, so to get their attention, we have to disrupt the economy. They have left us with no other option.

Civil disobedience works when it’s peaceful, respectful, disruptive and undertaken en masse. We don’t want to disrupt London, but our Government’s failure over the last 30 years leaves us no choice but to bring this to people’s attention. If we had functioning democracies, we wouldn’t need to disrupt everyday lives.

The police have been alerted, so that emergency services can be informed.

Gathering from 11am in five central London locations

This moment demands action that is proportionate to the threat we face. We intend to open up a space in London to imagine a way out of this dire potential future.

Therefore Extinction Rebellion invites you to come with us as we block five of the city’s busiest and most iconic locations around the clock in a non-violent, peaceful act of rebellion – Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square. Extinction Rebellion Youth will gather at 11am at Hyde Park Corner, and make their way towards Piccadilly Circus.

People are invited to come to the location that most appeals to them for creative resistance including People’s Assemblies, art actions, music, performances, talks, workshops, food and designated family spaces. The chosen locations represent the emergency we are living in and Extinction Rebellion’s 3 demands:


We are living in a Climate and Ecological Emergency. Extinction Rebellion will block the 6-lane road at the junction of Bayswater Road, Edgware Road, Oxford Street and Park Lane through nonviolent, creative direct action with music, theatre and dance.

There will be People’s Assemblies to discuss issues or make decisions collectively, where all voices are heard and valued equally. The assemblies will be constructed in a way that leaves people safe to share the grief and loss they feel for a world that is rapidly collapsing, allowing them to work together to organise towards rebellion and a shift away from the system that has brought us to this crisis of all crises. [6]

Speakers include BirthStrike activists, Jack Harries (filmmaker, photographer, environmentalist), Roger Hallam (co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, PhD researcher on social change), Matthew Shribman (chemist, science communicator, environmentalist and musician), Sam Knights (actor, writer and Extinction Rebellion political strategy activist), Simon McBurney (actor, writer and director), Paris Lees (journalist, presenter and transgender rights activist), Cel Spellman (actor and presenter), Farhana Yamin (international climate change lawyer,  Extinction Rebellion activist and founder of Track Zero) and Natalia Kaliada (founder of Belarus Free Theatre Company).

Music includes Eva Abraham, Sam Lee, Little Geneva, Emily Barker, Cam Cole, Alabama 3, Purple Lights, Beatbox Collective, The Cesareans, Nick Mulvey, Toytown Hustle and Sound Of A Bees Heart, plus protest song crowd singalongs led by Helen from The One World Choir.

Other happenings:

  • Gideon Mendel – Drowning World Shields
  • 2.45pm: Teach Out – Alternative Democracy. Peter MacFadyen, Amy McDonnell & Marijn van de Geer
  • 3.15pm: People’s Assembly
  • 4pm: The Silence Ends: A Choir of Voices. Add your voice to sound the opening of the rebellion and end the silence on the climate emergency
  • 7.15pm: Letters to the Earth. Last month, over 1000 letters were submitted by writers, including Yoko OnoNick Drake, Rebecca Solnit and Kate Tempest, in response to the current climate and ecological emergency. They were read by the public and performers including Andrew Scott, Alison Steadman, Tamaryn Payne and Alex Lawther, at more than 50 venues on April 12th and online. A Book Of Letters, including individual letters as well as a specially-curated 20 minute text, will be performed on stages at various times during the Rebellion.


Extinction Rebellion’s Demand 1 is that the Government and other institutions must tell the truth and declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency. In the epicentre of our planet-damaging consumerism, with the BBC HQ just up the road, we will tell the truth about the severity of the Climate and Ecological Emergency, while the Government and media are failing to. Through dancing to DJs, discussions, circus and art, we will create a sea in the centre of the junction of Oxford Street and Regent Street, as we rise like the oceans.

Oxford Circus will be opened by Professor Jem Bendell (author of Deep Adaptation paper about environmental and societal collapse, University of Cumbria) and Skeena Rathor. There will be music from The Correspondents, Matt Black (Cold Cut), Ninja Tunes, Sam Lee, Bostock, Conscious Rave, plus poet Salena Godden. There will also be a gathering of a number of faith leaders later in the day.

Other events include:

  • All day: Street Performance Explosion. A monologue written by April de Angelis, Invisible Circus
  • 4.30pm: Teachout with Peter MacFadyen and Amy McDonnell (see Parliament Square)
  • 5pm: Alternative Democracy People’s Assembly


Extinction Rebellion’s Demand 2 is that Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

At 11am hundreds of people from across London will gather on Waterloo Bridge to crowdsource a Garden Bridge, by bringing a potted plant each to create the Garden Bridge we’ve all been waiting for. Extinction Rebellion invites people, families and children to help us block and co-create a garden bridge, the start of a world we need to survive and thrive in.

The bridge will also feature a specially constructed ‘Skating on Thin Ice’ mini-ramp, inviting London’s skateboard community to reimagine the city. This ongoing road block ramp will be attended by some of the UKs top female skaters.

The bridge will remain open to cyclists. Bring picnics (and skateboards).

Music with Seize The Day, Storming Samba!, Portable Pond, Sam Lee, Undercover Hippy, Martha Tilston, Besureis, Jez Hellard, One World Choir and Henry Sparks, plus Earth Speaks, a performance of spoken word, rap, poetry and song that will speak for the Earth, using the ancient art of oration to alert others to the current climate crisis.

Other happenings:

  • Giant luminous mutoid heart
  • 11.30am: Letters to the Earth. Over 1000 letters were submitted by writers, including Yoko OnoNick Drake, Rebecca Solnit and Kate Tempest in response to the current climate and ecological emergency, and were read by the public and performers including Andrew Scott, Alison Steadman, Tamaryn Payne and Alex Lawther, at more than 50 venues on April 12th and online. A Book Of Letters, including individual letters, as well as a specially-curated 20 minute text, will be performed on stages at various times during the Rebellion.
  • 2pm: Teach Out
  • 2.30pm: People’s Assembly
  • 6.30pm: Cosmo Sheldrake. A DIY polyphonic multichannel musical flash mob in central London during International Rebellion streaming multiple parts of a piece of music composed by Cosmo Sheldrake. The piece is a wake-up call made entirely out of recordings of the songs of endangered British birds; using only smart phones and battery-powered speakers, participants will come together to create an infinitely scalable, multipoint sound system. Collectively, in the heart of London, we will summon the sounds of the rapidly dwindling bird populations of Britain, and drown out the urban noise with birdsong.


Demand 3 says that Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. The Government must move beyond party politics on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. We invite people and politicians to experience real democracy, to take part in people’s assemblies to model the direct, deliberative democracies we need.

Here there will be music from Sam Lee, Testify, Murmuration Choir, Briony Greenhill, James White, Spanner Big Band and Sambatallion. Speakers include Peter MacFadyen (Author of Flatpack Democracy – A DIY Guide to Creating Independent Politics), Amy McDonnell (Curator & researcher at the South London Gallery),  Marijn van de Geer (Director at Resolution:Possible), Salena Godden (Poet, performer and author), David Humphrys (Professor of Environmental Policy at the Open University) Dr Alison Green (National Director of Scientists Warning, former Pro Vice Chancellor of Arden University), Matthew Shribman (Chemist, science communicator, environmentalist & musician), Titus Alexander (Convenor of Democracy Matters), Mothiur Rahman (Former city lawyer, co-founder the Community Chartering Network), Marianne Brown (Resurgence & Ecologist magazine), and Gill Combes (Biophile, writer and change facilitator).

Other happenings include:

  • 11am: Sounding the 12 Years. Churches, children and other citizens are creating repeated pulses of twelve sounds, starting 15 April. The pulses alternate with a siren to sound the alarm to awaken us to the speed of action required to minimise the risk of reaching or breaching a 1.5 degree celsius temperature rise.
  • 11.30am: Flags and Banners Gathering. International Rebellion opens at Parliament Square with a colourful display of flags and banners created by regional working groups around the country. The united banners will reflect the diverse geographic spread of the movement and give a strong message to the world. This reflects Extinction Rebellion’s third demand, for a Citizens’ Assembly to deliberate decisions about the most effective way for the UK to become carbon-neutral by 2025.
  • 12 noon: XR Dead Canary Emissary. The Irish Prime Minister said “If we were miners, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries.” People all over the country have been making Dead Canary Emissaries to send to London as a message to the government to take notice of the warning signs. We’ll make a knee-high pile in Parliament Square as a manifestation of the predicament we’re in!
  • Species Graveyard: This installation will be part of the Extinction March and appear at Parliament Square. Print out these placards to raise awareness of the minimum 200 species going extinct every year. Here’s a link to the PDF and PPT on how to create the graveyard as a pop-up installation which can be replicated and brought out to protests:
  • 2pmExtinction March. A ceremony and funeral procession led by a New Orleans brass band and large-scale skeleton puppets of extinct and endangered creatures. This is a moment to grieve together at the loss of life on earth and reflect deeply on our place in the world.
  • 3pm: Regeneration Game. The XRPD (Extinction Rebellion Performing Arts Department) proudly and humbly invite you to join a spontaneously-generated, collectively-created, fully immersive, symbolic, rebellious rite of renewal: THE REGENERATION GAME.
  • 6pm – Mrs Noah – A Comedy by April de Angelis  Noah wants to escape the flood but Mrs Noah won’t get on the boat without her girlfriends. A comic take on a medieval mystery play in the age of climate change. With Ade Adepitan (BBC presenter and Paralympian athlete) as God, Naomi Paxton (Ada Campe and the Psychic Duck- award winning comic artist “Genius” Sandi Tosvig) as Mrs Noah. Jonah Russell (theatre, film and TV actor)  as Noah, plus Tamaryn Payne (Hollyoaks, Vikings, Casualty) as Mrs Japhet.


Extinction Rebellion Youth will gather at 11am Hyde Park Corner and make their way towards Piccadilly Circus, which is geographically at the heart of our Rebellion, and which will become a key meeting point during the Rebellion, forming the hourglass ‘X’ of the extinction symbol.

They say: “We will be working on bringing as many young people into XR as possible in the build up to April, to make sure our voice is heard and is truly representative. But beyond that, we’re here to have a damn good time. We’ll be developing youth-focused resources, providing mentoring and learning opportunities, working alongside other great youth campaigns and connecting young people. All so that when we take the streets in April, young people aren’t just on the streets, we’re owning the streets.”

Music will include a samba procession and workshops, community choirs and Briony Greenhill. There will also be readings from Letters to the Earth.

You can find out more about the International Rebellion here.

Actions & Legal Implications

Once you arrive at a site, you will find a “welcome table” where there will be information and questions answered, as well as multiple inductions and NVDA trainings happening throughout the day.

This movement welcomes and supports the involvement of people of all ages, ethnicities, capacities, and backgrounds with recognition that the least privileged are the hardest hit by the environmental crisis. We acknowledge that ethnic minorities and those with mental health conditions and physical disabilities in particular receive harsher treatment from police, and support everyone’s individual decision regarding their level of involvement in non-violent direct action.

By joining together in the road – standing, singing, doing workshops – we will be taking nonviolent direct action and risking arrest. If the police move to make arrests, those who are prepared to get arrested can stay sitting and await arrest, while those who are not willing to get arrested can move off the roads. Moving off the road will reduce your risk of getting arrested.

Everyone is welcome in the Rebellion and you are always free to decide on your level of involvement in the street performances and roadblocks.

Before you attend the International Rebellion, please read this legal preparation briefing. The briefing also includes some links for further research. You know your individual circumstances better than anyone else and you might need to do some additional research on how your actions could affect these circumstances. Please note that we must all take responsibility for our own actions.

During the Rebellion, please call in arrests on London actions to 07749 335 574.

We are coming together to protect life on Earth, and that includes the spaces and people of London. So treat passers-by with kindness and don’t cause any violent damage to the spaces where we will come together to rebel for our future. Some of these spaces will include parks and world heritage sites that we should all treat with the respect that they deserve. A lack of respect for these spaces will not only reflect badly upon our movement, but could also have severe legal implications for you. We are coming together in celebration of life.


We want everyone to be welcome, safe and able to take part in the rebellion.  If you have specific access requirements, please email us on

Notes to Editors



[3] NEW – What emergency?  



[6] /

[7] About International Rebellion

[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 topline demands are that the:

  • Government and other institutions must tell the truth and declare a climate and ecological emergency
  • 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.

UK Declaration of Rebellion:

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events

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