An “unfortunate sacrifice” for “long-term gain”: Durham Students involved with Extinction Rebellion

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A number of students from Durham took part in the Extinction Rebellion’s London protests, which saw one detained by the police.

The climate campaign group have been the focus of media attention in recent weeks due to continued protests and acts of civil disobedience, intended to cause disruption across London.

The student in question told Palatinate that “if civil disobedience weren’t the most effective method, many of us woudn’t want to take time off of work and revision”, and said that the action was an “unfortunate sacrifice” for “long-term gain”.

Speaking of the arrest, the student also noted that the police were “lovely.” The student was detained for 11 hours before being released, and also encouraged people to join the group’s meeting in Durham on 7th May.

After a week of protests, over 1,000 activists have been arrested and 500,000 people affected, with police costs at £7 million.

The largest of the protests were at Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch.

Public figures including Margaret Atwood and Emma Thompson support the movement, with Dame Thompson travelling from Los Angeles to join the London protests.

The movement also gained the backing of London mayor Sadiq Khan, who called participants his “allies.”

16-year-old Greta Thunberg, perceived by many as the figurehead of the “youth climate movement”, which saw thousands of school children boycott lessons to protest, arrived in London to address the protesters.

Miss Thunberg told protesters there was no use for the “beautiful words and promises” of politicians, and that radical action was needed to tackle climate change.

She also met with political leaders in the following days, including leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas.

In the past week, both the governments of Scotland and Wales have declared a “climate emergency”, with the group aiming to get the entire UK government to declare one in the coming weeks.

The movement’s County Durham Facebook page has grown to over 400 members in recent weeks, with the group recently holding a “funeral for our future” event which saw the group hold mock funerals at different Durham landarks.

The regional Extinction Rebellion branch also held a ‘week of action’ around the North East from 24th-28th April, and saw protestors stage a mass ‘die-in’ in Newcastle, mirroring a similar protest in the Museum of Natural History in London.

Although the week of protests has finished, the group has vowed that now the ‘real work begins’ on tackling climate change in the UK and across the world.

Featured photo by Mark Norton (Deputy Photography Editor)

Correction: The original printed version of this article contained a statement about Extinction Rebellion blocking Saddler Street in Durham during a protest. This is not the case and any use of roads within Durham during the ‘funeral for our future’ event was with the consent of the police.


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