The Air We Grieve: Extinction Rebellion Block Central London Road to Demand Action on Deadly Air Pollution as Hunger Strikers Continue into Fourth Week
December 09, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
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- Extinction Rebellion have blocked Cranbourne Street outside Leicester Square Station to demand action on deadly levels of air pollution in London.
- The roadblock includes twenty-five breeze blocks glued to the road to symbolise the twenty-five Londoners who die each day as a result of air pollution and six people have glued onto the blocks.
- Extinction Rebellion is asking candidates and leaders to support the Three Demands Bill and seventy five election candidates have now pledged their support for the bill, with numbers growing daily.
- Three Extinction Rebellion activists continue their hunger strike for the fourth week outside political party headquarters asking party leaders to meet them to discuss and support the Bill.
- Hunger Strikers, including Peter Cole, a 76 year-old grandfather and emeritus professor of respiratory medicine, have invited the Prime Minister and the media to meet them outside Conservative Party Headquarters at midday.
Extinction Rebellion have blocked Cranbourne Street outside Leicester Square Station in central London. The road has been chosen for it’s dangerously high levels of air pollution. Extinction Rebellion are demanding action from the next government, following this Thursday’s general election, on deadly levels of air pollution in the UK. The action is part of the Election Rebellion and seeks to place the climate and ecological emergency at the top of the agenda for all political parties.  Parallel actions are taking place in Manchester, Weymouth, Yeovil and York.
The roadblock in central London is emblazoned with the words ‘air pollution kills 25 Londoners a day’ and twenty-five breeze blocks – symbolic of those who lose their lives each day – have been glued to the road . Six people have glued onto the breeze blocks.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson and teacher, Rosamund Frost, said: “We are here demanding action on illegal levels of toxic air in our communities, our schools and our streets.
“In February 2017, the European Commission issued a ‘final warning’ to the UK over illegal levels of air pollution. In May that year, after the government failed to take decisive action, they were taken to Europe’s highest court, the European court of justice.
“The government have neglected to tackle fatal levels of air pollution. How can we put our trust in them to address the broader climate and ecological emergency?”
Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers remain outside Political Party headquarters in Westminster as they enter the fourth week of their strike. Peter Cole, a 76 year-old grandfather, is one of those now on their twenty second day without food.
Peter said: “As an emeritus professor of respiratory medicine, I am well aware of the facts about air pollution and am deeply concerned that, unless we act now on the climate emergency, the lung damage that is already apparent in children in many parts of the UK will condemn them to ongoing and possibly fatal lung disease as they grow up.”
Peter and fellow hunger striker Marko Stepanov have sent a letter to Boris Johnson inviting him to discuss the climate and ecological emergency with them at midday today .
The hunger strikers are asking all party leaders to meet them to discuss their support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, known as the Three Demands Bill. They have met with Deputy leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats and had a one-hour meeting with the deputy leader and other senior members of the Green Party, but are still waiting to meet the party leaders.
Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price is the first leader to have met with them to discuss supporting the bill. The Conservatives have not engaged at all during the three weeks hunger strikers have been outside their headquarters in Westminster.
Notes to editors
 The Election Rebellion is calling for all UK political parties and Parliamentary Candidates to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (better known as the Three Demands Bill), and do all in their power to ensure it becomes law. The Bill calls for the following:
- Tell the truth: Tell the truth by declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency and do all in their power to communicate the urgency for change, including working with government and other institutions.
- Act Now: Promote policies to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Beyond Party Politics: Help the government create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Draft of the Climate and Ecological Emergency (‘Three Demands’) Bill – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dXZif0DtyUkwUwQvj6XRQbFY_QwwoIUK/view
 King’s College London report on mortality burden of NO2 and PM2.5 in London. https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/hiainlondon_kingsreport_14072015_final.pdf
 Full text of Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers’ letter to Boris Johnson:
Mr Boris Johnson
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA
Dear Mr Johnson,
As you may be aware, we have been on hunger strike outside the Conservative Party HQ for 19 days now. We are both grandfathers who feel we have no option but to take this drastic action to highlight the gravity of the climate and ecological catastrophe that we are all facing. We are doing this so that we can look our grandchildren in the eye.
We are very disappointed that neither you nor any of your colleagues has taken the time to come and speak with us.
We have invited the media to come and visit us at 12 o’clock on Monday, 9 December and would like to invite you to come and speak with us for a few minutes about our concerns, simply as a fellow human being who breathes the same air.
By Monday we will be on day 22 of our hunger strike.
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:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- 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.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
- And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our Election Rebellion crowdfunder.
- Read more about Election Rebellion https://electionrebellion.uk/
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion emerged from 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 while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.