Extinction Rebellion Spark Controversy As They Target City Of London
Environmental movement Extinction Rebellion has sparked controversy amid its plans to target the role of high finance in the climate crisis with protests in the City of London this week.
The exact details of the planned action are being kept under wraps by the group, but it is set to include a series of actions that will target businesses with their headquarters in the Square Mile financial district.
Protesters are also expected to take part in site occupations as they draw attention to the amount of money financiers based in London’s financial districts pour into fossil fuels and high-carbon activities.
The events begin with a rally in Trafalgar Square today, August 23, and demonstrations are set to carry on for at least a fortnight. Though the protests are only just beginning, the group is already being hit with criticism from Twitter users arguing the demonstrations are disruptive and chaotic.
In a tweet shared on the same day as the ‘opening ceremony’ of the protests yesterday, the Metropolitan Police said officers had arrested eight people ‘in connection with activity outside the Guildhall in the City of London.’
It added: ‘Another person was arrested on suspicion of going equipped to cause criminal damage.’
Addressing the apparently disruptive behaviour, one Twitter user wrote: ‘Digging up lawns. Setting off flares. Daubing paint wherever they please. Polluting water features with dye. Extinction Rebellion aren’t very environmentally friendly, are they?’
Another person commented: ‘Extinction Rebellion has a hint of ‘snobbery’ about it & judges have let those vandals who claim they are breaking the law in the name of ‘saving the planet’ get away with it. We all have a right to be angry. We’re the suckers who pick up the pieces & pay for it.’
Further criticism came about after the group shared a video of Stephen Fry arguing the dramatic action taken by Extinction Rebellion was necessary in order to make world leaders take action.
Fry questioned what else would ‘make politicians really recalibrate, realign, revolutionise politics so that it faces the horrors of climate change’, but Twitter users responded to say he would likely not be impacted by Extinction Rebellion’s actions.
One person wrote: ‘Stephen Fry lives in a rectory in rural Norfolk. What would he know about having your commute into work disrupted by a bunch of Extinction Rebellion anarchists’.
The planned protests taking place over the coming weeks are not expected to disrupt public transport, as has been the case with previous demonstrations, though Extinction Rebellion member Anneka Sutcliffe has said the group expects ‘the protests to be disruptive’.
Per The Guardian, they added: ‘The focus will be on the City, where the power holders are.’
Sutcliffe added at least 2,000 people had recently signed up to the group, with almost half of the protesters expected at the upcoming events thought to be new to the movement.
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