Hundreds of lone protesters are holding “Protest Against” a roadblock across the UK today to demonstrate the government’s lack of action on climate change.
In the stunt organized by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) interest group, individuals sit alone on busy streets and carry signs with messages about their fears about the future.
The protest began at 11 a.m. on May 1 – exactly two years since parliament declared a climate emergency.
38-year-old Morgan Trowland taped himself to London’s Tower Bridge and asked the City of London Police to close it to traffic going south.
Mr. Trowland, a civil engineer from Hackney, east London, said: “I fear billions will die from the climate crisis, humans and non-humans.
“I’m freaking out that a lot of people accept this or feel powerless to change course. I want to show the audience that we all have phenomenal strength.”
Another man blocked Blackfriars Bridge with a sign that read, “I’m afraid billions will starve while our government refuses to respond to the climate crisis.”
In Newquay, Cornwall, 24-year-old Abigail Hubbucks sat on Fore Street for about 15 minutes, blocking traffic from around 11 a.m.
Bing Jones, a 68-year-old retired NHS doctor, blocked a street in Sheffield.
He said: “I am afraid that our climate goals are empty promises.
“We have targets for 2050, but we’re still increasing emissions today. The government made inexcusable Covid mistakes. I’m afraid that the climate crisis will make them worse. “
He added, “I am desperate. I write, advocate and support green politics, but I don’t see anything real.
“So today I’m sitting on the street and saying I’m scared. I’m sorry to bother ordinary people, but I don’t know what else to do. “
36-year-old nurse Andrea Muntiu blocked traffic in her hometown of Ipswich.
She said, “People may wonder what a nurse does when she is sitting in the street with a poster. You may be wondering what impact this will have on my career or if I get into trouble with the police.
“I am aware of the risks, but I feel morally obliged to warn people about the catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis.”
She added, “We can still change things, we can ask the government to act now, and we can make sure what we have.”
Lynda Duffill, a 53-year-old mental health trainer and volunteer manager from North Pembrokeshire who sat on the street in Haverfordwest said, “I fear for the future of the next generation. I work with young people and have two young adult children of my own.
“You deserve a life free from the difficulties that the collapse of the climate could bring with it.”
Protests took place in cities across the country, including Nottingham, Birmingham, Oxford, Bradford, Newcastle and Swansea.
XR said in a statement that the UK government is moving too slowly despite its CO2 reduction targets – Boris Johnson recently announced plans to cut emissions by 78% by 2035.
Several reports have been cited which stated that the UK will miss its goals if ministers do not act quickly.
XR spokeswoman Gully Bujak said the government was good at generating positive headlines but accused them of having no plan to achieve their goals.
Ms. Bujak said: “The UN People’s Climate Poll found that 81% of people in the UK believe we are in a global emergency.
“The government needs to commission a national assembly for climate and environmental justice, because even when politicians are afraid to face the truth, the common people are ready to act.”
Saturday’s protests coincided with a series of demonstrations against the police, crime, conviction and justice law.
The bill was drafted in part in response to previous disruptive actions by XR and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The proposed legislation would give the police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests – including those deemed too loud or disruptive, with fines or prison terms for those convicted.