On 31st October 2018, we assembled on Parliament Square in London to announce a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government. We were expecting a couple of hundred people. Instead, 1500 came to participate in peaceful civil disobedience. The energy was contagious! The next few weeks were a whirlwind. Six thousand of us converged on London to peacefully block five major bridges across the Thames. We planted trees in the middle of Parliament Square, and dug a hole there to bury a coffin representing our future. We super-glued ourselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace as we read a letter to the Queen. Our actions generated huge national and international publicity and, as news spread, our ideas connected with tens of thousands of people around the world. The XR project was resonating with a deeply felt need for community and solidarity. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” we chanted! Dozens of countries now have groups springing up, from the Solomon Islands to Australia, from Spain to South Africa, the US to India.
In April 2019 we began our first phase of International Rebellion. In Pakistan, we marched through the capital. In the US, we glued ourselves to a bank. In the Netherlands, we occupied the Hague. In Austria, we blocked roads. In Chile, we lay down in the middle of a street. In Ghana, we blew whistles to sound the climate alarm.
In the UK, meanwhile, we shut down five iconic locations in Central London: Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Picadilly Circus and Parliament Square. We stayed there for ten days, delivering a rolling programme of speeches, discussions and public assemblies. We closed down fossil-fuel companies, blocked the roads around the Treasury and glued ourselves to the London Stock Exchange. We attempted to cause as much economic disruption as we possibly could.
By the end of the fortnight over a thousand people had been arrested (including some heroes from Oswestry and Borders).
We have already seen a huge shift in public opinion, and the UK has become the first country to declare a climate emergency.
So what’s next? We are working relentlessly, building our movement in preparation for the next phase. So come and join us. Rebel for life. For the planet. For our children’s children’s futures. There is so much work to be done.