Rebel Daily 3: Pop the kettle on, ‘Authoritarian Regime’ is starting
September 04, 2020 by Extinction Rebellion
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The Macho Enforcement Team (MET) shows its muscle. Photo: Gareth Morris
By day 3, the Rebellion has fully warmed up: we’ve seen bold and beautiful actions all over the place. And yet, as we bring more love, the police bring more aggression.
At Lambeth Bridge we saw the most shocking scenes of this Rebellion so far. During a critical mass bike ride, a swarm of police vans rushed in and kettled over 200 peaceful protestors. The Met held rebels in the rain for hours, searched and arrested everyone (including bystanders, independent legal observers and welfare rebels) and confiscated hundreds of bikes. Full story below.
Sadly, this unwarranted aggression is in no way an exception. Whether it’s misinformation, disproportionate use of force, or straight-up racism, this country’s police is once again being employed in an attack on our civil liberties.
As one person on Lambeth Bridge described as she awaited ‘processing’, more frightening than the process or even the climate science is the thought that “We are up against a wall that doesn’t want to hear the truth”. This writer finds it scary too.
This rebel’s crime? Holding a banner on the pavement. Photo: Jonathon Vines
But if the police are a wall, we’re a flood. They hope to scare us off the streets and fortify the myth that we are powerless – but we know better. We’re here because we’re out of other options, and we know that peaceful civil disobedience works.
These outrageous moves by the Met could even indicate our success: arbitrary use of force suggests a state that’s insecure, not ‘strong and stable’. This illegitimate system’s foundations are starting to quiver.
Heavy-handed police response to peaceful protestors in Cardiff.
Intimidation will not work – we’re not going anywhere.
When the only guns in your arsenal are glue guns – rebels glued on at the entrance to the House of Lords. Photo: Gareth Morris
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As we enter this crucial phase in human history, our Rebellion will need money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.
Illegal mass arrests on Lambeth Bridge
3 SEP | London
Disturbing scenes unfolded on Lambeth Bridge last night in the first big show of force from the Met police this Rebellion. Rebels arriving for a critical mass cycle action were shocked to find themselves kettled by the police with no warning— or option to leave.
Lines of officers and vans prevented anyone leaving the bridge, whether compliant or not, and everyone there (over 200 cyclists, as well as legal observers, wellbeing rebels, bystanders and journalists) was arrested. One rebel reports being held for 6 hours on the pavement in a side road off Whitehall before being ‘de-arrested’.
XR Legal was quick to point out that this is totally illegal, and are adding this to the growing list of police misconduct towards rebels. In a repeat of last October, we are considering taking legal action. You can help support rebels with legal fees here.
In a strange turn of events, several passersby who happened to be on the bridge at the time had their Boris bikes confiscated by the police! We hate to think of the extra fines they racked up there.
Such a blatant abuse of power is clearly meant to intimidate us and deter future disruption. Unlucky for you, Met police— our resolve will not be shaken and we’ll be back on the streets, demanding a real response to the crisis we face.
We will not be bullied out of our right to protest.
Cheerful scenes before Polly put the kettle on and it started to rain.
50 Shades of Corruption
3 SEP | London
Monopolies are no joke: landing on Oxford Street could see this driver paying up to £1275. Photo: Crispin Hughes
Day 3 in London started with an old XR classic: swarming. Well over 100 people met in Victoria to follow the trail of ‘dirty money’ to Mayfair, splitting into two groups which held roadblocks for 7-minutes at a time. Some of the familiar swarming scenes were there (angry drivers, friendly drivers). A new feature was the disproportionate and aggressive police presence, with officers outnumbering rebels.
On the street-spanning march back to Parliament, some rebels were told that stopping would mean instant kettling and the arrest of all involved. But, the police wouldn’t do that, would they?
Glued on with gravitas. Photo: Gareth Morris
Though unsettling, Mayfair’s heavy policing was exactly what we wanted. As the swarming started, an inconspicuous group walked up to Parliament’s main entrance – the diverted police no longer barring access – jumped a barrier, and glued themselves to the ground.
Supported by a larger group with drums and flags, the blockading rebels kept the entrance shut for two hours before the hornet’s nest of law enforcement (some armed) managed to dislodge them.
Wait, are all the bad things in the world actually linked?! Credit: Tim Webster
Meanwhile, another blockade had been set up by Animal Rebellion outside the Department of Health and Social Care. Using a slaughterhouse ‘Truck of Truth’ filled and roofed with rebels (11 overall), the disruptors had traffic immobile for over 5 hours.
In another sign of police overkill, a supportive ecologist making a speech about zoonotic diseases from the pavement was arrested without warning.
Credit: Chris Jerrey
Later in the day, a ‘Carnival of Corruption’ descended on the Treasury. Police were twitchy once again, thereby turning out to be the perfect audience-participants for our outrageous clowns. Fake ‘dirty’ money was distributed to passers-by, chants were chanted, and a buoyant energy was in the air.
Barclays, clean up your act
3 SEP | Cardiff
Barclays, stop making an A$$ of yourself. Photo: Tom Richards
Barclays spent £85bn on fossil fuel investments in 4 years, despite saying it ‘should take a leading role in tackling climate change’. Cardiff rebels got creative to tell the real story— that Barclays’ bankers are so guilty of greenwashing that they’re the ones who must take a bath.
A giant Boris joined the fun, and two other rebels were arrested and quickly de-arrested for chalk-painting the bank and throwing liquid.
C’mon, media. Video here. Photo: Denise Laura Baker
Earlier, rebels set up a stage calling on the BBC to Tell The Truth about climate change. They broadcast two versions of the news on September 3rd 2050: 1. How Cardiff will look if we tackle climate change and 2. How it will look if we do nothing (spoiler: large parts of the city are underwater).
Several rebels tried to storm the building – one was arrested. Another was arrested for chalk-painting and later released.
After a colourful day of rebellion, XR members put away their banners and joined Black Lives Matter for a vigil outside Cardiff prison.
Barclays Banking on our Breakdown’
3 Sep | Manchester
A die-in outside Barclays to make the point that people are dying because of this bank’s investment choices.
Rebels in Manchester also decided to turn the spotlight on Barclays and its dirty little secret: it’s the biggest fossil fuel investor in Europe.
To poke fun at how the bank uses our money to fund dirty energy, rebels dressed up as bankers and asked for ‘donations’ to help them increase their investments in fracking and oil extraction.
And passers-by got into the spirit of the action by taking the chance to make donations to XR!
3 Sep | Everywhere with Wifi!
Police misconduct has rebels fuming.
Our valiant digital rebel warriors are doing excellent work disrupting No. 10 and the Treasury, coinciding with the march on the Treasury building itself. These rebels are calling the switchboards, delivering urgent messages to the government about the need for a green recovery, while taking up as much of their time as they can.
Rebels have made over 400 calls in two days! They are also emailing warnings of catastrophic global heating to multiple influential government officials, including Dominic Cummings.
Here are some online activities to join in:
- Find livestreams from rebels on Facebook and share the love.
- Contact Netpol about the police illegally kettling the critical mass cyclistson Lambeth bridge
- Complain to the BBC about their miniscule coverage of the climate crisis.
- Contact your MP to ask them to back the CEE bill.
Let’s inundate them with love and rage! More info here.
It’s Rebellion time— which means there’s too much happening for one newsletter to handle! Feast your eyes on the finest photos from yet more actions in XR Unchained.
A brave rebel glued on at Parliament. Photo: Ams Halls
Red rebels rocking it in Cardiff.
Who’s the real clown? Photo: John Owens
Hundreds of dangerous bikes in the safe hands of the police for a thorough investigation.
London. Cardiff. Manchester. Digital. Join the Broadcast
Support the Legal Defence Fund
Photo: Vincenzo Lullo
Getting arrested for non-violent direct action is a courageous act, which can also often be a stressful, confusing (and costly!) experience. Do support your fellow rebels with our new crowdfunder.
Critically, this fund ensures all UK rebels receive their initial legal advice from a protest-experienced solicitor. This support has proven vital for rebels to feel prepared, supported, and empowered ahead of their hearing. The fund also enables us to review police communications and act on any potentially unlawful behaviour from them, like we saw on Lambeth Bridge yesterday (remember our successful judicial review last October?).
As police arrests move our messages from the streets to the courtrooms, please help us continue to challenge potential abuses of power and support your fellow rebels through their arrests! We are all in this together.
“I’m here protesting about climate change. At school, we do a term where we learn about the climate and the destruction being done to it. It doesn’t really scare me, but it worries me for the future.
“We’re not going to live the happy lives that we want to live. We’re going to be living in a world of Mankind’s mess. The air will be polluted so we’ll probably still need to wear masks in the year 2080. I think XR is great. They’re doing what needs to be done.”
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What a jolly nice banner. Photo: Joe T.
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As we enter this crucial phase in human history, our Rebellion needs money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.