The City of London will be the target of a new round of Extinction protests aimed at highlighting role of high finance in the climate crisis, starting next week and continuing for at least a fortnight.
Thousands of protesters are expected to take part in a series of actions in the City, details of which are under wrapping. It will target businesses headquartered in the Square Mile financial district, and will include jobs on the site. There are no plans to interfere with public transportation, as happened at the time some previous actions.
Extinction Rebellion said the protests would be “joyful” and there was a “celebratory” air while emphasizing the billions poured into fossil fuels and high-carbon activity of the financiers based in London’s financial districts.
Businesses listed on London The Stock Exchange or financial from the UK accounts for almost 15% of global carbon emissions, according to the activist group, and if London’s financial markets were a country they would be the ninth largest emitter of carbon.
Anneka Sutcliffe, an Extinction Extinction member, said: “We expect the protests to be disruptive. The focus is on the City, where the power holders are.”
He said at least 2,000 people had recently signed up to the group, and he estimated that nearly half of the protesters likely to take part were new to the movement.
Most City employees have been working from home throughout the past year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but many have been forced to back to the office.
The protests will begin with a rally in Trafalgar Square on Monday morning, August 23. This is Haitian’s anniversary slave rebellion in 1791 and the international day for the commemoration of the slave trade and its abolition. XR said its events were also intended to show solidarity with the people of the global southern worst affected by climate degradation.
Esther Stanford-Xosei, a co-founder of XR’s International Solidarity Network, said: “[The power of international finance in promoting fossil fuels] is the expression of Empire 2.0. We have a responsibility to hold governments and corporations accountable, especially corporations registered on the London Stock Exchange. People in the global south have shown a way to live sustainably. “
He said the goal was to show how the world can be changed by ordinary people coming together. “We’re not powerless – you have more power than you think,” he said. “We are the collective power to be the change we need.”
The government and its management of Cop26, the UN climate talks to be held this November in Glasgow, were also key targets. Jon Lynes, 93, a veteran of the Extinction Rebellion protests – who has often featuring retired people who said they had more freedom to take part in protests where they could be arrested – said: “This is a critical moment for our government to do something. But they have reduce foreign aid while increasing the spending of the armed forces, and deprived of a coal in Cumbria and new oils. This is really embarrassing. This is why now is the moment [for protest]. “
Tim Crosland, of the Plan B pressure group, who found in contempt of court for early disclosure in a supreme court order related to Heathrow’s third road plan, said: “We are targeting the City because it is the kind of people who are truly contributing to the crisis. this. “
He spoke out against recent claims by conservative party members that reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – the government’s target, set by law – costs too much money. “It’s embarrassing to claim that it’s too expensive to save young people and our country and our planet. It’s extremist ideology from some part of the conservative party,” he said. “They believe science has to give way to the market, but it’s not going to work that way, any other way. The economy has to adapt to science.”
A City of London police spokesman said: “The City of London police are working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police to appropriately and proportionally respond to protest activity in London over the next two weeks and a plan the police are already in place. There will be a larger number of officers deployed to ensure a balance between the right to protest and the rights of Londoners to go about their daily lives. “