100,000 people to attend ‘massive’ four-day Extinction Rebellion protest in April to end the ‘fossil fuel era’
An activist said the demonstrations across four days in April will be “different” bringing a “movements of movements together” but disruption will be kept “minimal”
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Etienne Stott, a London 2012 Olympic gold medalist and member of Extinction Rebellion, told NationalWorld the protest will be “different” by “bringing a ‘movement of movements’ together”.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part in ‘the Big One’ demonstration in London from 21 to 24 April including more than 130 organisations. The event is set to have marches, pickets and speeches, as well as family friendly zones, art and music.
The environmental movement is demanding the government set up a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice which would be made up of a randomly selected and representative cross-section of UK society.
Members would be given expert knowledge on issues around a transition away from fossil fuels by experts from various fields and then be supported to work together to come up with a plan.
Stott said: “The plan would be free of the short termism, the vested interests and the oppositional style of politics which has proven so unfit for purpose when dealing with the crises we face.”
The protest comes after the latest climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) where scientists delivered a “final warning” on the climate crisis.
A climate director told NationalWorld the IPCC report highlights how climate change is “happening now, it is not something within 10 years” and governments “need to take actions”.
Stott said the report “gave people in power a very clear picture of what needs to be done to avoid catastrophe and the timeframe in which we have to act”.
He added: “The question to us all is why our leaders are failing us and what we are to do about it. I think many ordinary people are fed up with this situation and can see through the government’s hollow words. That’s why we are taking our voices to the powers that be over these four days.”
‘Protests bring injustices into view’
Stott said disruption will be “minimised” over the four days “with careful planning and liaison with the authorities.”
When asked what he would say to those who argue protests and disruption never lead to change, he replied: “I would challenge them and say that protests have always brought injustices into view”.
He added: “These protests would not be necessary if the government were genuinely responding to the concerns of its citizens.
“Instead they have been ignoring them and decades of petitions and letters to MPs have not led to sensible decisions being made. Protests are by definition disruptive, but across the four days of The Big One, concerned citizens are focusing on the seat of power.”
Extinction Rebellion says the government “has not got behind measures that could help immediately”, for example making houses more energy efficient, or expanding the cheapest and quickest way of reducing energy bills.
Stott said: “More and more people are realising that the environmental, public health, energy security, inequality and fuel poverty, racism and many other problems are are connected and that what is needed is for the voices of ordinary people to be put at the centre of decision making in government, rather than just paid lip service to.
“Our consciences call on us to take action and I would ask anyone who considers themselves to be caring, thoughtful citizens to come and join us in this historic moment.”