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Extinction Rebellion launches four days of mass action in London | Climate Crisis News

Activists have joined “The Big One” in the British capital to demand that the government do more to tackle the climate crisis.

Environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion has kicked off a four-day campaign in London, promising less destruction and more inclusivity than the mass lockdowns that have become its hallmark.

“It’s about broadening the invitation to get more people on more teams,” Clare Farrell, co-founder of the XR organization, said Friday.

“For many people, marching like a picket line is the first step,” she told AFP, promising targeted “nonviolent civil disobedience”.

Extinction Rebellion
Activists protest outside British Parliament in London [Kin Cheung/AP Photo]

In recent years, XR has garnered media attention for its direct action protests against climate change by vandalizing and impacting roads, airports and other public transport networks.

But in January, it called for a temporary halt to its high-profile demonstrations, instead pledging to mobilize large numbers of people against what it sees as government inaction on global warming.

The group hopes to get 100,000 people to gather outside Parliament for “The Big One” this weekend and 30,000 have registered their interest so far.

The action coincides with Sunday’s London Marathon and discussions have been held with race organizers to reduce disruption.

Dr Rita Issa, a general practitioner (GP) and climate health researcher who took part in the protest on Friday, told Al Jazeera that tackling the climate crisis would have beneficial effects on society’s health.

“I work as a GP in East London, where air pollution regularly reaches illegal levels. As a doctor, this means to me that in practice I have seen children lose 10% of their lung capacity due to air pollution, ’ she told Al Jazeera.

“Action on the climate crisis is good for our future, but it’s also good for the health of the population here today.”

Extinction Rebellion
Thousands turn out for first day of protests [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

Julia Hailes, a climate activist for 35 years, was among those who set up a stall in central London on Friday.

“People are starting to realize … that we’re facing a devastating future, we have a window of opportunity, and we need to do something about it,” she said. “The Earth is dying. We must stop this.”

Her son, Connor Bryant, 28, said his children and great-grandchildren will be more vulnerable to climate change.

“So in some ways, action was very important to me to feel like I was doing what was necessary to protect everyone I loved forever,” he added.

He urged more people to join the movement: “The longer businesses and governments wait to react, the more extreme the reaction will be.”

“The closer we get to the fires, the more destructive and drastic actions are inevitable,” he said.

Protester Lisa Milne said she was hesitant to take action that would cause “friction” with the public.

She added: “This time I’m excited to be able to join in and show my support and show my concern for the planet and what we’re doing.”

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