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  • Extinction Rebellion France and UK join forces to disrupt Cannes Lions Festival
  • Rebels kick off a day of action by dropping banner overlooking the Festival ‘Palace’ reading ‘TELL THE TRUTH’ and blocking the main entrance to the festival where 14 people were arrested
  • Members of Extinction Rebellion have been followed by police and stopped by festival security for wearing the Extinction Symbol or handing out flyers

Members of Extinction Rebellion from both the UK and France are in Cannes this week to peacefully disrupt the Cannes Lions Festival, Europe’s largest annual festival celebrating the global advertising industry. Rebels have joined forces to call on the industry to tell the truth about the Climate and Ecological Emergency and to encourage their clients to do the same.

The disruption comes after a letter written by Extinction Rebellion to the advertising industry was released in May urging them to use their immense impact on human behaviour to tell the truth and encourage action to tackle biodiversity loss. [1]

During a day of action rebels dropped a banner with the words ‘TELL THE TRUTH’ from the Church of Our Lady of Esperance which overlooks the Festival ‘Palace’ before blocking the main entrance to the event a few hours later. Rebels linked arms and sat on the palace steps chanting “We are in the 6th mass extinction’ and ‘If we don’t act now the biodiversity on which we depend will collapse” before 14 people were arrested. Festival security stood in front of the protesters blocking them from view as they chanted, despite the festival hosting several events on the power of activism.

On the eve of the event, Extinction Rebellion met with the CEO of the Cannes Lions Festival who assured them that their message is welcome at the festival. He also mentioned that the festival takes activism seriously and companies and NGOs are actively collaborating to search for solutions to the many crises the world faces.

However, since the meeting on Sunday members of Extinction Rebellion have been met with heavy handed identity checks by armed police upon entering Cannes and taking part in even the most non-disruptive actions, such as handing out fliers. They have also been visited by French intelligence police at their accommodation on the perimeter of the city.

This negative reception comes following the news this week that the Canadian permafrost is thawing seventy years earlier than scientists predicted [2], the French declaration of a natural emergency following deadly hail storms [3] and Heathrow airport announcement of expansion plans [4].


Sebastien, father of two and member of Extinction Rebellion France, said: “I came here to the Cannes Lions festival to tell the truth about ecological collapse and I am willing to be arrested if that is what it takes to tell that truth to the people here. The advertising industry are masters of disguise, but we are here to say: it cannot continue. The future of all life on earth, including humans, is at stake. It is time to make decisions based on the truth, continued greenwashing will see humanity sleepwalk over a cliff.”

Annie Randall, 25, Extinction Rebellion UK, said: “The advertising industry is turning a blind eye to the climate and biodiversity emergency. Many of these brands offer false solutions – selling eco-products or promoting carbon offsetting. They are planning for a world where there is still time left to act. We’re here to remind them that time is up. If they want to stand on the right side of history they need to act decisively now, whether they do that as agencies or individuals.”

Nuala Gathercole Lam, 30, Extinction Rebellion UK, said: “There is a lot of talk at Cannes Lions Festival about activism and finding solutions to the problems facing the world but the Extinction Symbol has struck fear into the organizers of the festival for all the wrong reasons. We have been targeted by Festival security for simply wearing stickers with the symbol and it has become clear that they have been briefed by the organisers to clamp down on anyone who appears to be a member of Extinction Rebellion.

“We came to tell the truth about the twin climate and ecological emergencies to an industry that are responsible for selling people things they don’t need and depleting the resources of our finite planet. The message from Cannes Lions Festival has been loud and clear – they don’t want to know.”

Indigo Rumbalow, 25, Extinction Rebellion UK said: “The advertising industry shapes the way that we see the world. It uses creativity to change how we see our future. We want to disrupt the daily production and consumption of lies and ask that the people of Cannes Lions tell the truth, and act as if that truth is real. We need to focus our attention and creativity on solving the biggest problem facing the world right now, ecological catastrophe. We are extinction rebellion, and we will continue to disrupt, until the system changes.”


[1] Open letter to the advertising industry:

Dear Founders, CEOs, CCOs, CMOs, CFOs, MDs and CDs of the advertising industry,

You didn’t think we’d forget about you?

We know you like things simple so here they are:

We’re not on the verge of the Sixth Mass Extinction. We’re in it.

If everything on the planet dies, we die.

That’s not a distant future. We are only a few years away from an irreversible temperature climb, although biodiversity destruction may get us first.

“What can I do?” you’re thinking. “I’m just the Founder/CEO/CMO/CCO/CFO/MD/CD of a global advertising agency.”

The answer is: you can do anything you want and you can shift mass behavior in a heartbeat. One of the reasons we’ve got here is because you’ve been selling things to people that they don’t need. You are the manipulators and architects of that consumerist frenzy. Imagine what would happen if you devoted those skills to something better.

No, making a small campaign to give up drinking from plastic straws is not going to cut it.

Neither is doing some pro-bono for an anti-palm oil initiative.

Here’s the thing you can do:

Declare a climate & ecological emergency and act accordingly. Persuade your clients and their audiences to do the same.

If you don’t make this change, consumers will insist you do. Look at the streets of London in the last month. People are beginning to see where the problems lie, and soon they will see you.

You have an extraordinary moment to be on the right side of history. That’s not something that can get postponed to Q3. It needs action right now.

Just Do It.

Be All That You Can Be.

Impossible Is Nothing.

We’re here to support you in this vital transition.

Contact us at

Extinction Rebellion

[2] Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early

[3] Freak hailstorms prompt French authorities to declare ‘natural emergency

[4] Heathrow reveals expansion ‘masterplan’

Notes to editors

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, 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 their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

UK website:

International website:


Twitter: hashtag #ExtinctionRebellion

Declaration of Rebellion:

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