‘Things are skyrocketing out of control’ – Extinction Rebellion protests continue

By Rachel Steinberg
October 11 2019, 15.45

Extinction Rebellion protestors gathered in Trafalgar Square as police continued to issue evacuation orders and shut down occupied sites across London on Wednesday.

Some of those assembled in the square had already spent time in custody.

They included nurse Amber Reeve, 24, a Buddhist who was arrested Monday afternoon on Lambeth Bridge as part of the Faith Bridge movement.

Ms Reeve said she was meditating when she was arrested alongside priests, vicars, the founder of XR Muslims and members of the Jewish community.

“People sat there in robes with handcuffs on,” said Ms Reeve.

“It just felt huge.

“I was crying, I couldn’t stop crying. I was bawling my eyes out.”

Ms Reeve was taken to Wood Green police station where she spent about 15 hours. 

She said: “The officer who interviewed me said, ‘You don’t deserve to be in here. Let’s get you out of here right now’.”

While some protestors anticipated their arrests, others didn’t plan on any jail time.

Glenn Hall, a retiree from south Wales, offered XR his catering equipment and was told he would spearhead the kitchen in Trafalgar Square.

Mr Hall’s wife, Wendy Dunning, 57, said he was arrested on Monday whist unloading their car.

The mother of two said: “We’ve never done anything like this before.

“But if I had grandchildren and they looked at me and said, ‘When you found out this was going to happen, what did you do?’

“I want to say I did something.”

Earlier on Wednesday, police cleared tents out of an area just south of Nelson’s Column.

Mrs Dunning said many of those people don’t know what happened to their belongings.

On Wednesday night, as a helicopter circled overhead, police lined a closed section of Whitehall just south of Trafalgar Studios.

Meanwhile, in a packed tent in the square, a group gathered for an XR induction led by Debbie Martin and Mary Adams.

At the sessions, which run several times each day, attendees learn about the movement’s principles, their legal rights, and are walked through the arrest process.

They are also given ‘bust cards’ with contact information for solicitors specialising in protest law.

In a nearby tent, UCL neuroscientist Kate Jefferey said she was surprised to discover even some protestors didn’t have a solid understanding of climate science.

Dr Jeffrey is part of Scientists for XR, a group hoping to facilitate more informed dialogue.

Standing under a banner which read ‘I’m a scientist and I’d rather be at work’ she said: “People need to talk more.

“They aren’t aware of how quickly things are skyrocketing out of control and how serious the problem is.”

Related Articles