Climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion (XR) have continued with actions to change climate policy in Norwich following the premature conclusion of their London protests.
In the London protests, around 100 members of Norwich XR were in the Parliament square group, including former Norfolk County Councillor Andrew Boswell.
Boswell said the idea of the action is that ‘if people are arrested others step in and take their place’ in an attempt to ‘keep the action going for as long as possible’, which ended up being ten days. However, Norwich Green Party candidate Jamie Osborn contradicted this, saying ‘being arrested is not an ideal situation… It’s not what we’re setting out to do’.
Concrete reported at the time of the event that in total there were six Norwich activists among the total of 1100 arrests. Norfolk Constabulary also sent forces to London to assist with policing duties whilst the Metropolitan Police were handling protest related incidents.
Shortly after leaving the London protests, activists resumed work in Norwich, staging a ‘die-in’ outside the Forum on the 27 April. This was designed to symbolise the ‘sixth mass extinction’. XR Norwich spokesperson James Harvey said ‘The catastrophic impacts of the climate and ecocide emergency will be felt within our lifetimes. We need government and business to act now. The clock is ticking. This is an emergency.’
XR members in Kings Lynn have set out to educate children about the dangers of climate change on Earth Day. Members dressed up as animals to invite questions from local children, which they used to spread awareness among the younger generation.
Dr Edwin Salter, a former scientist dressed as a penguin said ‘We are an endangered group of organisms, because of habitat change and climate change. All the way from the Galapagos to the Antarctic we’re in trouble’. A departure from XR’s normal action, the day involved movie screenings, activities and workshops.
XR also staged a ‘critical mass’ bike ride around Norwich, aiming to highlight how cyclists have a right to use the roads. This was in an effort to promote sustainable transport and travel, and make a statement about what should be done. XR Norwich plan to make these bike rides a regular event in order to raise the profile of the group in the city.
XR have repeatedly called for Norwich City Council to declare a climate emergency; however, they have fallen short of this, acknowledging a climate emergency but not declaring one, as North Norfolk District Council officially did on the 23 April.
We are also nearing closer to the trial date of Robert Possnett , who was charged with a public order offence following the 12 February protests at County Hall, on the 12 and 13 of June. Possnett’s charging was accompanied by protesters who applauded him from the public viewing gallery before posing for photographs.
To get involved with XR’s action in Norwich, join the XR Norwich or XR UEA Facebook page and head along to one of their meetings, on a Tuesday at UEA or a Thursday in the city.