Extinction Rebellion: Canning Town unrest

It would be hard for me to write an objective and balanced piece as I’m fairly decided on this one. What has started happening though is Joe Public starting a rebellion of its own.

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Angry commuters have pulled Extinction Rebellion protesters from the top of a Tube as activists disrupted services across London.

 

Dozens of commuters were seen pulling the two campaigners from the top of a Jubilee Line Tube train at Canning Town station in east London after they unfurled a banner saying: “Business as usual = death”.

 

They were then seen beating the campaigners up before the pair were arrested by police.

 

British Transport Police (BTP) tweeted officers said they had made several arrests as they dealt with three separate incidents involving Extinction Rebellion protesters at Stratford, Canning Town and Shadwell stations.

 

“Arrests have already been made and officers are working to qiuckly resume services,” BTP added.

 

The protests come as activists defy a London-wide protest ban.

 

Leading activists, including George Monbiot and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, are bringing a case seeking to overturn the order to the High Court on Thursday on behalf of the climate change protesters.

Who are Extinction Rebellion?

Extinction Rebellion says they are an international activist organisation, which uses non-violent methods to encourage those in power to take action on climate and environment issues.

The original group, which calls itself “XR” for short, was launched in 2018 and says it now has groups in several other countries.

Their logo is an hourglass inside a circle to symbolise that time is running out for many species.

What do Extinction Rebellion want?

They have three demands which they want people in power to take action on.

  • They want the government to declare a “climate and ecological emergency” and work together with other institutions to help spread the message calling for things to change.
  • They want the UK to “act now” to stop loss of habitat and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • They want a special group called a Citizens’ Assembly to be put together. It would be made up of people from across society, to decide how to solve the climate crisis, with advice from experts.

What have people said about the protests?

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said the climate activists have “no right to cause misery” and the Met Police “must take a firm stance”.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “This is very, very difficult for us because my colleagues have never come across the situation that they are faced with at the moment.”

“They are dealing with very, very passive people, probably quite nice people, who don’t want confrontation whatsoever with the police or anyone else – but who are breaking the law.”

Greta Thunberg joined the protests and spoke to a crowd gathered in the centre of London, saying “keep going – you are making a difference.”

The group has been criticised not only for causing disruption, but also for wasting public money, after London police boss Cressida Dick said April’s protests had cost the police an extra £7.5 million.

While it says it is a non-violent group, members have used more aggressive actions like smashing windows, saying that sometimes tactics like this are necessary, and it always makes sure not to put anybody in danger.

Extinction Rebellion says anyone who is annoyed by the protests should “find out more about the severity of the ecological and climate crisis”.

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