Extinction Rebellion protest: why is it happening, dates, picket locations - will it affect London Marathon?
London Marathon spectators have been urged to avoid a famous part of the route as some 30,000 Extinction Rebellion activists are set to flood Westminster
and live on Freeview channel 276
The climate group’s scheduled four-day protest will take place in central London from Friday (21 April) to Monday (24 April) and it could see some 30,000 activists in the Westminster area for the “final stretch” of the marathon.
Hugh Brasher, event director for the TCS London Marathon, has advised spectators to “watch the marathon from other locations and avoid the Parliament Square area on the day” as the square and “immediate surrounding area” will be “very busy”.
Extinction Rebellion’s programme for the protests says that “the final stretch of the London Marathon will intersect with” its rally, “providing an opportunity to connect with and support those running in the marathon for causes amplified by the climate crisis”.
There will be various ‘hubs’ in Westminster on Sunday set up by Extinction Rebellion. These ‘hub’s will host open Air ‘Stage’ talks from experts, while there are also walking tours through Westminster planned.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has condemned Extinction Rebellion (XR) for risking “creating massive disruption” to the marathon.
In a tweet Shapps wrote: “The London Marathon is one of the UK’s biggest charity fundraisers. Extinction Rebellion seem to think creating massive disruption is a good idea – which beggars belief!
However, Extinction Rebellion co-founder Clare Farrell said the group has “no intention to disrupt their event”.
In a statement, she said: “We have been in dialogue with the marathon organisers since November to make sure we can hold both events at the same time and support one another. We have reassured them that we have no intention to disrupt their event.
“Unlike our government, the marathon organisers are happy to have an adult conversation about the situation and how to work together.”
Marijn van de Geer, another Extinction Rebellion activist, said: “Having 30,000 people in the Westminster area may cause some logistical disruption, and there is of course also the London Marathon happening as well, so it is going to be nice and busy in central London over the weekend.”
Where will pickets be across the four days?
Extinction Rebellion is calling for a People’s Picket at every government department in Westminster on Friday and Monday.
The Pickets will be led by over 100 supporter organisations, community groups and XR local groups.
They will be held at the following 16 government buildings from 7am to 6pm:
- Department for Business & Trade
- Department for Culture, Media and Sport
- Department for Education
- Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
- Department for Transport
- Department for Work & Pensions
- Department of Health and Social Care
- HM Treasury
- Home Office
- Houses of Parliament
- Ministry of Defence
- Ministry of Justice
- 55 / 57 Tufton Street
What are the main actions on each day?
Extinction Rebellion has listed the main actions for each day on its site.
- The People’s Pickets on Monday and Friday
- The Big One for Biodiversity March on Saturday
- Daily Big DIY Assemblies; 20,000 Small Boats Action at The Home Office on Sunday
- On Monday there is the What Next Assembly, the March to End Fossil Fuels, and The Finale – Picket Parliament.
Friday 21 April: Unite to Survive
- From 07:00 – 18:00, the People’s Pickets will be happening at all the major government departments.
- At 10:30, the Opening Ceremony (Main Stage @ Abingdon Street (south)) will have speeches from Clare Farrell, Aoife-Mae, and Robin Red, and music from Orchestrated Discontent
- At 15:00, the first of the daily Big DIY Assemblies (Main Stage @ Abingdon Street (south)) will include the Climate Choir singing Voice of Change.
Saturday 22 April: Earth Day
- At 13:00, the Unite for Nature Rally starts at the Main Stage @ Victoria Street, with speeches from Chris Packham, Dave Goulson, Jyoti Fernandes of the Land Workers’ Alliance, and Delia Mattis of Black Lives Matter.
- At 13:30, the The Big One For Biodiversity March heads off from the Main Stage @ Victoria Street on its route around Westminster.
- At 14:45, at the end of the march, there will be a mass die-in.
- At 15:00, we gather again for the second of the daily Big DIY Assemblies at the Mobile Rickshaw Stage @ Abingdon Street (south)
Sunday 23 April: Running Out of Time!
Extinction Rebellion said on its website: “The final stretch of the London marathon will intersect with The Big One, providing an opportunity to connect with and support those running in the marathon for causes amplified by the climate crisis.”
- At 15:00, we gather for the third of the Big DIY Assemblies at the Main Stage @ Abingdon Street (south)
- At 16:30, the 20,000 Small Boats Action at the Home Office, with origami paper boats – to be posted to MPs and Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Monday 24 April: Choose Your Future
- From 07:00 – 18:00, the People’s Pickets will be back – at all the major Government departments.
- At 12:00, the What Next Assembly gathers at the Rickshaw Stage @ Parliament Square (west)
- At 13:00, the March to End Fossil Fuels will go from Parliament Square to Jubilee Gardens
- At 17:00, Picket Parliament – The Finale takes place in Parliament Square.