30th May 12PM: Extinction Rebellion to hold socially distanced protests across the UK calling for a Citizens Assembly on Covid-19 recovery

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  • CHANGE IS NOW > DECIDE TOGETHER: Extinction Rebellion to hold silent, socially distanced protest for one hour in Parliament Square – with similar protests to be held in Worcestershire, Whitstable, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Northampton, Dorset, Nottingham and more
  • They are calling on people across the UK to publicly express their dissatisfaction with Government incompetence and demand a Citizens Assembly on the Covid-19 recovery
  • The protest has been designed so that people are physically distanced at 3 metres apart, with Extinction Rebellion asking that everyone wear protective masks in order to take part and only travel walking or cycling distance
  • The protest comes as it becomes abundantly clear that the political institutions in place are not capable of meeting the major challenges we face with coronavirus and the climate and ecological emergency

30th May 12pm: This Saturday Extinction Rebellion will be outside Parliament calling on people across the UK to publicly express their dissatisfaction with Government incompetence and demand a Citizens Assembly on the Covid-19 recovery to decide our future together.[1] The challenge of addressing the pandemic is inseparable from the climate and ecological emergency – both must be addressed in tandem if we are to secure a safe future for all. 

In a socially distanced grid in Parliament Square, people will stand silently for one hour and bring their own cardboard signs with a choice for our leaders, that say “People OR profit”, “Life OR death”, “New roads OR new bike lanes” etc. The protest has been designed so that people are physically distanced at 3 metres apart, with Extinction Rebellion asking that everyone wear protective masks in order to take part. In adherence to current government health and safety guidelines, people will arrive alone or in pairs, and are being asked to only attend their local protests by walking or cycling and avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary. 

Similar socially distanced protests are set to be held up and down the country – including Worcestershire, Whitstable, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Northampton, Dorset and Nottingham – with local groups planning actions outside local councils, MP offices, town squares or street corners.[2]

As the Government begins bailing out destructive industries that are killing us, an urgent need for a democratic, deliberative process such as a Citizens’ Assembly is needed to consider how best to rebuild our economy, our democracy, and our future – a process free from polarising party politics that puts the health and wellbeing of people and planet before profit. This is no radical ask – in fact, Citizens Assemblies are sounding more like common sense as these interconnected crises deepen.[3]

Marijn Van De Geer from Extinction Rebellion’s Citizens Assembly working group says: “We urgently need a democratic deliberative process such as a Citizens’ Assembly to consider how best to rebuild our economy for a more sustainable, fair and long term basis. This must be done outside of polarising party politics. Most importantly, this discussion needs to be held between ordinary people, not just politicians, current power holders and various special interest groups.”

The protest comes as humanity stands at a major turning point in history. In the current crisis, it has become abundantly clear that the political institutions we have in place are not capable of meeting the major challenges we face. The Government has failed the public during Covid-19 – they did not listen to the science and were not willing to prepare for the inevitable. This has all been heard before with the climate and ecological crisis. With the Prime Minister more interested in protecting his advisor, Dominic Cummings, than protecting the public and defying many in his own party by refusing to sack him, there is a growing anger that the Government is unwilling to do what’s right to protect its citizens from further suffering.[4]

Paul Stephens, ex-Met Police Detective Sergeant said: “Each day it becomes increasingly evident that the Government is making mistakes that cost lives. We will come out of this crisis but at what human cost? The Prime Minister is more concerned with protecting his mate and his position than protecting the people of this country from further harm. They put GDP before emergency preparation for a crisis such as this. Now consider the climate situation that threatens us on a much grander scale than Covid-19. We cannot trust them to see beyond the next election.”

This act of defiance will highlight a refusal to go back to business as usual. There has never been a more pressing time to completely reimagine the way we live, and with much of the mainstream media joining the call to “flatten the climate curve”, and a poll out today that shows even 62% of Conservative voters want a green recovery, it’s clear that we must use this moment to secure a safe future for all.[5][6]

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.facebook.com/events/2894230050662393/

[2] List of groups taking part (so far):

Nottingham – Outside County Hall – 12pm
Hackney (London) – Hackney Town Hall – 12pm
Hereford – Penn House, MP’s Surgery – 10am
Haringey, Highgate – Alexandra House & Civic Centre, Wood Green – 12pm
Portsmouth – Civic offices/Guildhall Square – 12pm
Calderdale (West Yorkshire) – 2 civic offices (tbc) – 12pm
Bournemouth – Town Hall – 11:30am – 12:30
Greenwich – Woolwich Centre (Wellington Street) Council building – 12pm
Malvern – Malvern Link Common – 12pm
Whitstable – Seafront – 12pm
Birmingham – Victoria Square – 12pm
Islington (London) – Town Hall – 12pm
Worcestershire – TBC – 12pm
Suffolk – Suffolk County Council – 12pm
Ipswich – Ipswich Borough Council – 12pm
Northampton – TBC – 12pm
Dorset – TBC – 12pm
Weymouth – TBC – 12pm

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/24/letters-our-blueprint-for-a-post-coronavirus-future

[4] https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/survey-results/daily/2020/05/26/3fb8f/2?fbclid=IwAR089mdbbA66erU4_zh5Qq4DD7ajAlQnFsguyRrMSIsz8k_ztHw0FTKfcdo

[5] https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/21/countries-should-seize-the-moment-to-flatten-the-climate-curve

[6] Even Conservative voters prefer a green COVID-19 exit: https://psyarxiv.com/ebzhs 

About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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