‘Ceasefire now!’ Extinction Rebellion protest inside Parliament to demand peace in Gaza - Extinction Rebellion UK

‘Ceasefire now!’ Extinction Rebellion protest inside Parliament to demand peace in Gaza

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists staged a protest in the House of Commons today to demand that our political leaders call for an immediate ceasefire.

At 14:15 today XR activists stood up in the gallery above the chamber and unfurled banners emblazoned with the message: ‘CEASEFIRE NOW’.

The action was timed to coincide with a Parliamentary debate on the King’s Speech, where amendments from SNP and Labour back-benchers were expected to be debated calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the Israel Defence Forces bombardment of 2.2m Palestinians trapped in the area. [1]

One of the protestors, Miranda, a mother of two young children, said: 

Every day that goes by without a ceasefire more innocent people die, many of them children with their whole lives ahead of them. It breaks my heart. Our government is complicit in these atrocities, through the provision of arms and diplomatic cover. It must stop. We must do what we can to demand a ceasefire and facilitate a just peace.

The action’s aim was to highlight the urgent need for views of the public to be represented in the debate, which are currently being ignored. Polling shows 76% of the public want to see an immediate ceasefire [2], yet the government and the opposition continue to reject these calls and enable the Israeli government to inflict the war crime of collective punishment on the people of Gaza. This is not democracy in action. 

One of the XR protesters, Yaz Ashmawi, explained why they felt they had to take this action: 

“The UK has historically been instrumental in the suppression of Palestinian human rights and continues to offer unwavering support for the military onslaught we are seeing now – both diplomatically and through arms sales. It is part of the same system that is at the root of the accelerating climate and nature emergency: a system of inequality, violence and exploitation. We cannot begin to secure a just and liveable future without an end to systems of violence and oppression all around the world, and the liberation of all indigenous people.”

Over the weekend, XR Families gathered in Trafalgar Square to demand a ceasefire and read out the names of all the children killed in Gaza and Israel. Parents and children laid out hundreds of baby shoes in Trafalgar Square to represent all the young lives tragically lost. [3]

Today, XR spokesperson Rosie Merrifield said:

Parliament must today demand that the government calls for an immediate ceasefire and commits to back an internationally-arbitrated resolution which ensures the absolute protection of human rights for all, and lasting safety and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli people.”

Notes to editors:

Full statement from Extinction Rebellion UK on Palestine:

  1. Ceasefire amendment debate:  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-67421556
  2. YouGov polling: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/travel/survey-results/daily/2023/10/19/e363e/1 
  3. XR Families empty shoes  action: https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2023/11/11/empty-shoes-for-lost-lives-extinction-rebellions-heartbreak-plea-for-a-ceasefire-in-gaza/

About Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the sixth mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

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