After the blockade was cleared Monday, XR Peace Rebels held a big banner reading Climate Justice Works for World Peace at the corner of Horse Guards Avenue visible to a steady flow of traffic all day.
We continued with speeches, poetry, music and song. Caroline Lucas MP gave a rousing speech saying we will win! Other speakers included CND Vice President Bruce Kent, Stop the War chair Lindsay German, journalist and author Victoria Brittain and Nobel Peace Prize winning Dr Rebecca Johnson from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The Artboy performed slam poetry, and violinist Dmitri van Zwanenberg treated us to a set of inspiring tunes.
We decided to disperse for the evening and meet up again in the morning.
23 people have been arrested this morning after blocking Victoria Embankment in London outside the UK Ministry of Defence complex, amid calls for UK to redirect resources from military to address Climate Crisis, and as part of the XR London Rebellion beginning today. The protesters, from the XR Peace group, blocked the Embankment with a car and by attaching themselves to a mock Trident missile. Among the protesters were Rewilding North, a group from Wales, a group from Cornwall, a group from Yorkshire, people from Scotland and other parts of the country.
Among those arrested is Quaker Sarah Lasenby, 81, a retired social worker from Oxford. She said:“For twenty-one years my main concern has been to help get rid on UK nuclear weapons. I am still keen to do this but once I came across XR I was so relieved to have something I could do about the ghastly state we have got our planet in. The directness of the students with statements ‘There is no planet B’ and ‘it is our futures’ has driven me on.. The whole thing is so urgent that it is imperative the Government should take serious actions and put pressure on other states and Global Powers to radically reduce the use of fossil fuel seven if this means we need to reduce our comfort at home and so much flying. The future life of the planet is so important. So I protest with XR Peace.”
Also arrested is Angie Zelter, founder of the nonviolent direct action nuclear disarmament campaign group Trident Ploughshares, who said“Climate change causes war and war causes climate change. About 6% of global carbon emissions are from military activity. As the climate crisis gains pace there will be increasing tension. If countries continue to resort to war as a means of solving conflict wewill not be able to avert climate crisis.”
Another of those arrested is Trident Ploughshares activist Jane Tallents, who lived for six years at Faslane Peace Camp in the 1980s said “All people of the earth face the twin existential threats of nuclear weapons and the climate emergency. To avert catastrophe we must find new ways of thinking and work together to save our shared home.”
XR Peace is part of Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion in London. Here are some of the other sites:
Tomorrow is the day our October Rebellion begins. Whether we have the tea urn and the cushions or any other useful equipment with us or whether its just us with our bodies we will be taking action for the planet outside the MOD.
We’re ready to set up the XR Peace site with beautiful banners and artwork outside the Ministry of Defence. We hope to be there all week bringing the message that militarism and the climate crisis are linked.
Everybody can be part of this movement whether you can get to London or not, and whether you are arrestable or not. There are lots of roles to fill, and when you arrive ask about this. If you can make it to London we want as many people there as possible. If you can’t make it to London, please share on social media, talk to friends and colleagues, fly the XR flag.
Just a few points to bear in mind if you are joining us.
Not to frighten anyone away but it’s important for everyone coming to the site to understand that you could be at some risk of arrest. If you’re not blocking the road it’s unlikely. But it’s really important that if you are arrested you tell the police that you consent to them giving information about you to anyone who asks – so that our support team can find out if you are being released or held for court.
If we are interviewed please speak from the heart, tell your story, what brought you to this point. And if you want to, please feel free to make any of these key points:
Militarism is one of the central pillars of the carbon intensive
exploitative extractive industrial system that is driving the climate
crisis. Getting to net zero by 2025 will require a radical social
transformation including ending militarism.
Climate change causes war and war causes climate change. About 6% of
global carbon emissions are from military activity. Climate change is
already a significant cause of conflicts and is a key factor driving the
refugee crisis, both from food shortages and climate induced conflicts.
The civil war in Syria, is a case in point. As the climate crisis gains
pace there will be increasing tension and more wars.
Nuclear weapons are the twin existential threat to humanity and the
planet. The risk of nuclear war will increase as international relations
further deteriorate and conflicts increase with the deepening climate
crisis. The use of just a fraction of the nuclear weapons deployed
globally could result in a ‘nuclear winter’ leading to global famine and
the death of two billion people.
As long as countries continue to prepare for and resort to war as a
means of solving conflict we will not be able to address climate change.
Use and follow these HASHTAGS: #Everybodynow #thetimeisnow #HumansofXR #xrpeace
Around mid-morning on Monday 7 October we will set up a stage in the middle of the Victoria Embankment road outside the Ministry of Defence as part of the wider Extinction Rebellion.
Shortly after the occupation of the road artist Peter Kennard, who created the iconic image of the CND symbol with a broken ballistic missile, and a détournement of John Constable’s “The Hay Wain” called “Haywain with Cruise Missiles” will create a new work of art linking militarism and the climate emergency.
At 3:30pm legendary Vice-President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Bruce Kent will speak from the stage in the Victoria Embankment road following a panel discussion featuring the Stop the War chair Lindsey German, Victoria Brittain, journalist and author of Hidden Lives, Hidden Deaths and Dr Rebecca Johnson, Co-Chair of CND and member of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Here’s the full programme of speakers for Monday:
Peter Kennard, Creating a new work of visual art, mid morning Dmitri van Zwanenberg, Violinist, 1pm Frankie Armstrong Singer, 1:30pm-2pm Caroline Lucas MP Green Party, Solidarity speech Panel discussion: 2pm – 3:30pm – Lindsey German, Stop the War – Victoria Brittain, Author and journalist – Rebecca Johnson, Co-Chair of CND Speakers and Q&A: 3:30pm – Bruce Kent, Vice President of CND – Sue Miller, Stop Ecocide – Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington The Artboy, Slam poetry, 4pm-4:15pm
Militarism and war are inextricably linked with imperialism, racism, and the destruction of habitats. XR Peace makes explicit the effects of militarism and war on our ecological/climate emergency.
The continuous armed conflicts, many of which relate to the control and exploitation of fossil fuels, needlessly kills people (mainly unarmed non-combatants), pollutes crucial environments such as rivers and agricultural land, and destroys essential infrastructure. The necessary reconstruction – often carried out by profiteering corporations – then depletes already scarce resources. Nuclear war remains a continuing existential threat, as the nuclear-armed states persist in refining and expanding their weapons systems whilst trashing arms agreements. Many civilian police forces are becoming militarised in their organisation and are utilising tear-gas and other weaponry against citizens. Countries of the Global North are barricading themselves against those already suffering from climate-related droughts, floods and conflicts over resources; arms manufacturers and dealers are reaping the profits from our increasingly militarised borders. People of indigenous communities are routinely intimidated and murdered by states or corporations and their agents who prioritise power and profits over environmental protection and the right to life.
Militarism is a huge direct contributor to our climate emergency. The US military is the world’s single biggest user of oil, and yet the military have been exempted from the global requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – or even to declare them. This has to change: a major factor in dealing with the climate emergency will be challenges to the world’s militarised power structures.
Solutions must be based on justice and equity in a world that is not governed by violence or the threat of violence.
XR Peace will explore the links between war, peace, justice and the climate/ecological emergency in October with speakers, assemblies and blockades. Put 7th to 21st of October in your diaries and come to the peace blockade area during Extinction Rebellion’s autumn campaign by the Ministry of Defence Buildings on The Embankment.