8 Oct 2019

Arrests as Extinction Rebellion protests go global

10:21 am on 8 October 2019

Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion activists have been arrested as protests take place across the globe.

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A man is arrested during the Sydney Extinction Rebellion protest. Photo: AFP

Thirty people were charged with committing offences in Sydney after hundreds blocked a road, while more than 100 were arrested in Amsterdam.

Demonstrations have taken place in countries including Germany, Spain, Austria, France and New Zealand.

Protests by climate change activists are expected in some 60 cities over the next two weeks.

The group is also causing disruption in London, where at least 276 people were arrested on Monday.

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Extinction Rebellion protesters occupy central London locations including Westminster Bridge, Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. Photo: AFP

Extinction Rebellion wants governments to take immediate and drastic action to address climate change.

"We have tried petitions, lobbying and marches, and now time is running out," Australian activist Jane Morton told the AFP news agency.

"We have no choice but to rebel until our government declares a climate and ecological emergency and takes the action that is required to save us."

Australia's government has been criticised for its lack of action in tackling climate change but it insists that it is doing its part to reduce global carbon emissions.

The country's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said last week that names and photos of Extinction Rebellion protesters should be widely distributed to "shame" them.

What's been happening and where?

  • In Sydney, protesters staged a sit-in on a main road. Hundreds were pulled away from the scene and 30 of them were charged. Australians have also been protesting in Melbourne and Brisbane
  • There were a handful of arrests in New Zealand, where activists surrounded the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment building in Wellington on the basis it grants oil and gas drilling permits and later staged a sit-down protest in the CBD disrupting traffic
  • More than 100 were arrested in Amsterdam after they erected a tent camp on the main road outside the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum
  • Arrests were made in New York after protesters poured fake blood over the Wall Street charging bull statue as part of a staged "die-in"
  • Activists blocked traffic in Berlin, where authorities have said they will refrain from making arrests for the time being
  • In Paris, 1000 activists backed by the yellow-vest anti-government movement have reportedly occupied a shopping centre

Almost 150 activists have already been detained in London, with organisers vowing to shut down key sites in the city including the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square.

Similar protests in the UK earlier this year brought major disruption to London and resulted in more than 1100 arrests.

Protests are expected to spread across dozens of cities, including Delhi and New York, in the days and weeks ahead as activists call for urgent environmental action.

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Protesters staged a sit-in at the Wellington Extinction Rebellion protest yesterday. Photo: RNZ / Yvette McCullough

What is Extinction Rebellion?

Extinction Rebellion (XR for short) wants governments to declare a "climate and ecological emergency" and take immediate action to address climate change.

It describes itself as an international "non-violent civil disobedience activist movement".

Extinction Rebellion was launched in the UK in 2018 and says it now has groups willing to take action in dozens of countries.

The group uses an hourglass inside a circle as its logo to represent time running out for many species.

What are its aims?

In the UK, Extinction Rebellion has three main demands:

  • The government must declare a climate "emergency"
  • The UK must legally commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025
  • A citizens' assembly must be formed to "oversee the changes


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