Climate change protestors from Extinction Rebellion Canterbury blocked a main road near the Guildhall for seven minutes at a time, allowing traffic to pass every two minutes.
This was done to raise awareness of climate change and to push for council, and government, action to reduce emissions, after the recent IPCC report added a sense of urgency to the issue.
Protestors held signs apologising for the delay, as well as asking drivers to turn off their engines. Emergency services were able to pass through.
The action tool place on Saturday of last week and was peaceful, with local police supervising. No-one was arrested. Protestors told drivers what they were doing and why and the protest ended around 2.30pm. This is the first action from Kent’s Canterbury XR group - a national week of action is scheduled in March.
Protestors chanted “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now!” They demanded that the government, BBC and local council “Tell the truth” about climate change.
Spokesman Nicholas Thurston warned drivers that the consequences of not acting “are beyond imagination, as spelled out in the IPCC report, drought, famine, mass migration, huge loss of land … That is why we’re standing here today, to demand our governments declare a climate emergency”.
The IPCC report gives governments twelve years to drastically reduce emissions to limit climate change. Mr. Thurston also called on listeners to lobby their representatives to adopt climate friendlier policies.
Extinction Rebellion is a fast-growing movement, with around 80 groups in the UK. It demands that the government communicate the seriousness of climate change and end contradictory policies. It advocates for legally binding measures leading to zero carbon emissions, reduced consumption, and monitoring by a Citizen’s Assembly.
Ellie is a student from Canterbury. She is keenly interested in the environment and politics, and is an active member of Greenpeace.