Over the past week, police have arrested more than 1,000 climate change protestors in London. The activists have engaged in a variety of interesting protest techniques. For instance, demonstrators glued themselves to vehicles, occupied major road intersections around London and recently staged a “die-in” at a busy museum. These protestors function as part of Extinction Rebellion, an anti-climate change group. But what is the story behind this group taking headlines around the world?
After the UN’s Climate Change Summit late last year, activists formed Extinction Rebellion. A report released at the summit warned that the planet is facing an immediate threat from climate change. On April 15, the group called for a global rebellion. “Governments are consistently failing to take the urgent and decisive action that will save us,” the group’s website says. “If the system will not change, then we must change the system.” And shut down the system they did. About two weeks ago, the group’s call to “Shut Down London!” escalated to protestors occupying Parliament Square and blocking Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus. The group notes that it advocates for “non-violent civil disobedience.”
In the Netherlands, members of the group occupied sections of the International Criminal Court mid-April. They unfurled banners reading “Make ecocide law” and formed human chains before being arrested by Dutch police. Establishing crimes against the environment as an international crime acted as the group’s goal. “We demand that ecocide is amended as a fifth international crime alongside the other abhorrent crimes dealt with by the court,” Extinction Rebellion activist Jonathan Leggett said to Independent.
In all, thousands of people from all ages and walks of life have joined Extinction Rebellion’s protests. As of April 22, 1,065 people had been arrested by London’s Metropolitan police, according to CGTN. This number makes the movement the largest civil disobedience event in modern UK history. Extinction Rebellion will continue disrupting the status quo in an attempt to push governments to reach zero carbon emissions by 2025.