Environmental activists, Extinction Rebellion held socially distanced protesting in Exeter when they invited people to ‘Reclaim the Streets.’
The local Extinction Rebellion group planned a peaceful and socially distanced protest in the area, calling for the government to take a ‘no going back’ approach after the pandemic.
ITV Westcountry has reported the group took to the streets on Saturday 16th May and painted stencils of bicycles in what would typically be a congested area. The paint is said to be non-toxic and was used to create pop up bike lanes. On Sunday, they also took part in a bike ride in the newly reclaimed streets.
The group said they welcomed the news that there would be funding for the widening of cycle lanes as announced by the government this week. However, they also explained the long-term plan doesn’t go far enough to tackle the current climate issues.
An Exeter resident said, “There has been a huge increase in cycling in the last few weeks, including families with children.” They want to ‘act immediately’ so that they don’t get frightened back into their cars when traffic levels start to rise again.
The recent lockdown has some concerned that everyone will return to normal soon, and pollution levels will quickly start to rise again. In a YouGov poll, it revealed that only 9% wanted to go back to previous ways before the lockdown.
This news comes as last Sunday, police were called to an organised protest in Yeovil. Somerset Live said they had gathered in Yeovil Country Park and were holding signs protesting the bailout of airlines. The police attended the location as reports were made that a large gathering was taking place. One protester said, “we were peacefully protesting climate change and using our right to peaceful assembly during our hour’s exercise.”
This year’s Earth Day was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the movement instead planned 72-hours of digital action worldwide.
Protestors place shoes outside Shropshire Council
An Extension Rebellion group in Shropshire have placed 100 pairs of shoes outside Shirehall in Shropshire to mark the one year anniversary since it declared a climate emergency. Shropshire Live reported that protesters wore masks and gloves to put the shoes out, and said that the shoes represented the people that couldn’t be there to protest due to the lockdown.
However, the shoes were not in celebration of the milestone, but to draw attention to the lack of action carried out by the local council since the announcement last May.
Speaking from Extension Rebellion Shrewsbury, Jamie Russell said,
“Their lack of urgent response to the climate emergency that they themselves voted to declare a year ago is shameful.”
This news comes after the Scottish government confirmed that an updated climate change action plan that was due to be released, has been postponed until the end of the year.
Protests across the world
These protests might seem small in comparison to some that are going on in the world. The Daily Mail reported this week that the group are planning a return to the streets in Australia to cause chaos for commuters as they start to return to normal following the pandemic.
Recently, activists in Brisbane blocked off a road, and 9 News said one man had been stopped from visiting his dying father and was naturally angered by the protest.