XR Unchained: Aaaand we're off! International - Extinction Rebellion UK

XR Unchained: Aaaand we’re off! International

Kiwi Kick-Off

7 OCT | Wellington, New Zealand 

Aotearoa rebels kicked off the International Rebellion by shutting down their capital, Wellington. Rising early, they seized and held the Ministry of Business, Innovation 

& Employment (AKA Ministry for Oil, Gas and Minerals) all day, blocking all entrances with glued hands and “climate crime scene” tape. 

The street was blocked off on either end with a pink wheel-less car and the now iconic pink boat, each vehicle encircled by undetachable activists. Meanwhile, growing numbers of rebels started a blockade to keep the authorities on their toes and block one of the main shopping streets in Wellington. 

The site was decorated in typical XR-fashion with a wall of proudly-deployed banners and colourful chalked XR symbols lining the road. The Red Brigade were also present – leading an eerie parade and surprising commuters in the station as they haunted the grounds of New Zealand Parliament. 

Around midday, hordes of friendly rebels swarmed ANZ bank in order to push it to act now and divest from fossil fuels. A minute of silence was held for our brothers and sisters around the world who are already feeling the impacts of the climate and ecological crisis.

India’s first XR international action!

6-7 OCT | India

Photo: funeral procession in Goa, paying respect to the Aarey forest (Mumbai) as well as the 164 environmental activists killed in 2018.

Photo 2: 5-20 minute die-ins took place all over the country

The first successfully executed international XR action from a country in the Global South was a roaring success! Starting on Sunday the declaration of rebellion was read, with citizens young and old demanding their government to Tell The Truth. 

13 cities stood in solidarity with the dire situation in the Aarey Forest, with over 2,500 rebels from South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Canada, Sweden, Peru, Colombia, Australia, U.S.A, Hungary, Israel, and Austria also joining the Indian Declaration day! Here you can read the English version of the declaration 

Despite permission to protest, a Section 144 restricting public assembly was placed in Mumbai. However, rebels made a stand and ensured that the events went ahead regardless.  The funeral procession in Goa and the numerous die-ins taking place all over the country served as a bleak reminder of lives lost due to the climate and ecological crisis, but it also showed what we can do collectively when our love is not confined to borders. 

Blood of the Earth

7 OCT | Sydney, Australia

The streets of Sydney saw some beautiful and disruptive scenes as up to 400 people gathered near Central Station. Rebels congregated in the middle of the road to sing, perform music and chant, blocking a number of busy intersections and interrupting the flow of traffic for long periods. One group of activists locked themselves in a pink water tank with the slogan “Blood of the Earth” while police tried to remove them.

Over 30 arrests were made, including four teenage girls. A number of elderly rebels were also arrested and savagely dragged across the concrete on their knees when they refused to get up. The actions of the police were received with anger by the crowds, who chanted: “heroes, heroes” as the brave rebels were led to the cells. 

Picnic launches three Argentine rebellions 

7 OCT | Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Plaza San Martin, a diverse and inclusive picnic launched three separate rebellions. One group of rebels hung a large XR flag atop the Monumental Tower. Rebels then read out their Declaration of Rebellion against the Argentine Government and denounced their systematic violation of constitutional rights to a healthy environment that does not threaten future generations.

A second group highlighted the consequences of the current agro-industrial model – Argentina has the highest use of herbicide glyphosate per hectare in the world. Rebels blocked entrances to Monsanto and held photos depicting the brutal cancers and malformations caused by the company’s glyphosates; a company which then subsequently profits from selling drugs to treat these cancers. This industry is also responsible for the largest share of Argentina’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The final group blocked the doors of PanAmericanEnergy, the largest fossil fuel company in Argentina and one of the main investors in the fossil fuel extraction at the Vaca Muerta shale formation. This proposed fracking would significantly increase Argentina’s greenhouse gas emissions and displace entire communities. Dressed as PAE workers, rebels carried signs “sorry for the inconvenience, we are working to destroy the world”, and created poignant pavement artwork.

Blood Spilled Outside Italian Parliament

7 OCT| Rome, Italy

Rebels in Rome kicked off their International Rebellion by pouring fake blood on each other at the gates of Montecitorio Palace, the Italian Parliament building. The action was part of a “rebirth” performance that demonstrated both the terrible future that might await the next generation, but also the hope for a new and regenerative culture.

More than one hundred rebels attended, many having attended the ‘Casa Ribelle’ over the weekend – a special camp where rebels learnt about civil disobedience and Nonviolent Direct Action.

Father Alex Zanotelli, a Comboni missionary and activist, gave his endorsement: “The concrete threat of mass extinction calls for concrete actions, and disturbing public order. Faced with a system that does not act, the people must rebel.”

Actions are continuing throughout the week, and Italian rebels are encouraged to come join the fun or donate to the XR Italy fundraising page.

XR Sri Lanka Is Born

6 OCT | Colombo, Sri Lanka

Photos: Roar Media

A Sri Lankan rebel writes…

Yesterday was our first rebellion, coinciding with the launch of the Global Strike. Climate Emergency is presently ignored and not acted upon in our country, but there is a fast-growing movement of people and organizations who are beginning to join forces and bring about societal change; at individual, corporate, and hopefully, government levels.

Our original plan for the event was to have an official Declaration of Climate Emergency, followed by a die-in, yoga training for “spiritual warriors”, music gathering with unplugged instruments, while promoting awareness via posters with QR codes linking to XR sites and websites proposing solutions for change.

However, the weather decided otherwise and rain started to pour down an hour before the launch, continuing throughout the afternoon. 

But people did show up! We’re so proud of all the rebels who showed up in spite of  the torrential rains…

Despite the XR SL initial pledge of not using disruption as well as not having any legal or support team organised as of yet,the group decided to walk through the rain and partially obstruct traffic in order to be more visible. 

Our action got decent media coverage, with some of our members aiming to send articles, pictures, and videos to the press. Overall, it went well and all felt empowered with a hope that we will indeed make a change!

In future, Sri Lankan rebels are also planning to assist local actions as well – such as participating in beach clean-ups or reforestation projects while striking and spreading awareness at the same time!

Our next action is happening next Saturday, starting with an official Declaration and a mass die-in followed by a beach clean-up. 

Occupying the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

7 OCT | Tel Aviv, Israel

Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org

The red brigade turned up at the Tel Aviv stock exchange and were supported by dozens of rebels who blocked the entrance to the trading floor and glued themselves on, calling on Israeli companies to think about their actions and take action against f the climate crisis. 

Activists called for economic change: ‘In our financial system, the rule of capital works day in and day out; it does not rest. We are here to change the system so that it promotes life’. 

Dana, who bravely glued herself to the entrance, also shared: “These companies are destroying our planet — we must start investing in life”.

‘Blood of our Children’ spilled in Moldova

7 OCT | Chișinău, Moldova

In Chișinău, rebels organised a flash mob at the Great National Assembly Square and poured 70 litres of blood on a map of Moldova to represent life lost as a result of the climate and ecological emergency. 

The purpose of this demonstration was to highlight in particular a recent study published by the European Heart Journal which stated that 5,400 Moldovians die annually from polluted air. Rebels spoke about the urgent need to spread awareness of the environmental crisis, calling on the government to address the numerous deaths resulting from pollution. 

Watch the video of the action here!  

Copacabana Die-In

7 OCT | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Photo: ©Reuters/Sergio Morares

The iconic beach of Copacabana was the scene of a die-in staged to highlight the growing destruction of the Amazon and the genocide of the indigenous population, language and culture. XR Brazil’s manifesto and four demands to the government will be on display alongside ‘dead’ activists forming the XR logo.

The Red Brigade arrives in Istanbul 

7 OCT | Istanbul, Turkey

Rebels in Istanbul gather for a funeral procession with the Red Brigade.

Athens responds to Mother Nature’s call

7 OCT| Athens, Greece

Recently, the Greek government has agreed to license oil and gas extractions. The conversion of Greece into a hydrocarbon-producing country may lead to contamination of soil, air and water, deforestation, agricultural land destruction, and have harmful effects on public health, tourism, fisheries, health and agricultural production.

Marine-based oil plots in the Ionian Sea and Crete cover some 60,000 square kilometers and host endangered marine mammals such as the Caretta-Caretta turtle, while land-based plots occupy many areas of the National System of Protected Areas.

In response, rebels came together in Syntagma Square, Athens, for a non-violent, creative performance. They also provided information and started a discussion on the topic of oil and gas extraction to raise awareness about its environmental impacts. 

Vienna: 150 rebels took to the streets of Vienna today, marking the beginning of their “week of action” 

LondonXR Youth take the BBC 

7 OCT | London, UK

As part of the London Rebellion today, XR Youth protested outside the BBC headquarters and demanded that they tell the truth about the climate. 

They were told by security that the BBC did not know they were coming, and that the people inside were “busy writing news” and had already reported on Extinction Rebellion. Rebels challenged this, stating that they had notified the BBC about their presence and that they don’t want to be news themselves; instead they want the climate crisis to be on the news. 

As a symbol of peace and a final gesture, they kindly asked to leave their beacon of hope from the previous evening’s opening ceremony. Promisingly, XR appeared as the third story on BBC’s 6pm news. Small steps; we’re making progress.

Paris – “Occupation avant la fin du monde” – French coalitions occupy shopping centre ahead of the International October Rebellion

5-6 OCT | 10:00 – 03:00 | Italie 2 Commercial Mall, Paris, France

Two days before the International Rebellion kicked off, French rebels held a beautiful and successful occupation of a shopping centre in the French capital in coalition with Yellow Vest groups, the Youth Strike for Climate, and a group denouncing police violence and racism in French suburbs (Justice pour Adama). 

The location, chosen to denounce the impact of capitalism and consumerism on nature and society, was successfully occupied for more than 18 hours by more than a thousand activists  from diverse struggles before being peacefully given back to the authorities early in the morning. 

The action, brilliantly called “Occupation avant la fin du monde” [Occupation before the end of the world] was an encouraging trailer for this  week’s action in France, dubbed the ‘Occupation pour la suite du monde’ [Occupation for the rest of the world], which started on Monday. 

Previously in Berlin’s Climate Camps…

On Saturday, the “Delib.Camp” began to fill up and take shape on a grassy area just metres from the Reichstag parliament building and the Chancellery (Angela Merkel’s office). 

Regional groups arrived and pitched their tents, including a massive delegation from Sweden. With temporary homes in place, the first meetings and workshops got underway. The overall mood was one of positive anticipation for the days to come: public meetings, regeneration and numerous other creative events and acts are all on the programme. 

The first day also included a rehearsal of the XR Choir – we’re looking forward to hearing more from them as they help spread the word in sublime fashion.

Day 1 came to a close as camp attendees (and interested media onlookers) bedded down before the Reichstag and Chancellery – a backdrop and proximity to the heart of German politics that will provide no small amount of inspiration in the days to come.

On Day 2, the programme kicked off with talks and discussions, including a very popular talk from “Scientists for Future” member Volker Quaschning on “Catastrophic Failure in Climate Protection – The threat we face and what needs to be done”. 

Professor Quaschning emphasised that a world without fossil fuels is possible and that energy generation from 100% renewable energy is more than realistic in Germany.  All the while, the camp filled up with more tents and more attendees. We welcomed groups from Halle, Bonn, and Franconia, as well as the giant Swedish delegation.
You can read more about the Camp here (in German): A tour through the Camp (Facebook) and here: The regional groups arrive (Twitter)

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