Extinction Rebellion has pledged to mobilise two million protestors to launch what it says will be ‘the largest act of civil resistance in UK history’ in April next year.
The environmental campaign group, known for its disruptive tactics, has made the pledge today after criticising this month’s climate summit, claiming it did not go far enough to tackle the crisis.
The group said that the number of activists taking part in their demonstrations had dwindled during the pandemic but that they hoped to rely on record numbers in 2022.
Citing research carried out at Harvard University, XR says that movements which achieved ‘active engagement’ of at least 3.5 per cent of the population have ‘never failed to bring about significant social and political change’.
The group says that 3.5 per cent of the UK population equates to 2.3 million people and has set itself the target of recruiting those people for its campaign in 2022.
XR believes if they hit this target then their protests in April next year will be ‘the largest act of civil resistance in UK history’ as it issued an appeal for people to join its cause.
Extinction Rebellion has promised to bring about ‘the largest act of civil resistance in UK history’ in 2022 as it called for new members to join their cause. The group said it hoped to build on their disruptive protests of 2019 (pictured) but on a larger scale to bring about change
Protester Diana Warner glues her hand to a train as demonstrators block traffic at Canary Wharf Station during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London, Britain April 25, 2019
Group spokesman Nuala Gathercole Lam said: ‘While our mass participation campaigns of 2019 played a significant role in driving forward the recognition of the climate and ecological crisis, XR’s actions have not yet brought about the real action on the part of government needed to reduce emissions and restore biodiversity.
‘That’s why in 2022 we will be working to grow our numbers and developing designs for civil resistance campaigns, the first of which will take place in April 2022.
‘Our mobilisation program will continue to build numbers through the year with the aim of achieving XR’s three demands.
‘The failure of COP26, and indeed the COP process generally, is devastating but not surprising – it is clearer than ever now that it’s up to all of us.’
Starting from Monday 15 April 2019, Extinction Rebellion organised several disruptive demonstrations in London targeting popular areas including Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge.
As well as disrupting commuters on the roads, activists caused severe delays on the transport network by gluing themselves to trains.
Extinction Rebellion protestors gather in Hyde Park in 2019 after weeks of disruptive action
Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters block the road in the City of London in 2019
The April demonstrations, which also saw the group target Heathrow airport, saw more than 1,000 people arrested as a result and the disruption was to to continue throughout the year.
In October, XR launched a two-week series of actions which they called “International Rebellion” which took place in 60 cities worldwide.
In London, this included actions which saw several thousand people shut down parts of Westminster, blocking Whitehall, the Mall, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and Victoria Embankment.
They also used a fire engine to spray fake blood onto and around the Treasury.
In a statement issued today, XR said the onset of the pandemic forced the movement towards ‘smaller, more targeted’ actions but that next year was the time for the group to ‘return to its roots’.
XR said the large-scale action is a direct response to the failure of the Cop process.
During their October campaign, Extinction Rebellion protesters spray fake blood on Treasury
The statement said Cop26 ‘failed to heed the calls from experts’ for ‘immediate, rapid, global wide-ranging’ emissions decline and said the summit left ‘the human race continuing to invest in our own extinction’.
The group is now planning to recruit more than two million people in the UK to join its cause.
XR says it will be ‘rolling out a nationwide program of door to door canvassing, talks, trainings and mass participation civil disobedience campaigns’.
Gathercole Lam added: ‘For real progress to be made in future climate talks, one of the major polluting nations must step up and break the deadlock.
‘The theory behind Extinction Rebellion is that mass participation in civil disobedience – on the doorstep of the government, media and elites – is our best shot at creating the political conditions for the UK to step up and play that role.’