Summary of XR Peace to date
23rd July 2019. Angie Zelter received an email from Gail Bradbrook asking about the possibility of a peace block for the October Rebellion. Angie was asked to head up XR Peace.
31st July 2019. Angie called an initial meeting of peace groups in London to discuss the idea of XR Peace. These groups included Pax Christi, CND, Movement for the Abolition of War, Women In Black, Quaker Peace and Service, and Trident Ploughshares. Having received positive feedback she wrote to these and other peace and justice organisations asking them to support XR Peace.
The following organisations have signed in support of XR Peace (more organisations are being invited or are in the process of making a decision)
Trident Ploughshares, CND, Scottish CND, CND Cymru, Stop the War, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, War Resisters International, Nukewatch, Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, Iona Community, Nipponzan Myohoji UK Peace Pagodas, Forces Watch and XR Against Arms Trade.
Angie signed the Memorandum of Understanding between XR(UK) and XR Peace on 7th August 2019. Jane Tallents agreed to be a co-facilitator of XR Peace. Together Jane and Angie helped bring in other people and organised the XR Peace involvement in the October Rebellion. They prepared leaflets and banners ( https://xrpeace.org/leaflets-and-posters/ ).
XR Peace demands were agreed as
“Now is the time to work together, globally, to create a resilient and caring society that will:
- Speak the truth about the climate and ecological emergency emphasising how war causes climate chaos and destroys our living environment, which in turn causes more conflict and war
- Act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
- Insist that the Government and all political leaders create and be led by the decisions of a Citizen’s Assembly on climate and ecological justice
- Demand that the government work to reduce international tensions, avoid war as a method of resolving conflict, eliminate nuclear weapons, dramatically reduce military spending and redirect resources currently in the MOD budget to address the climate and ecological emergency that now faces all peoples of the earth.
London Rebellion 7th October 2019
7th October 2019. At 6 a.m. rebels gathered and blockaded the Victoria Embankment outside the MoD. 2 people locked on to their car, another 3 locked onto a mock Trident missile. Pop up tents arrived, banners were put up at both ends of the blockade and around 75 people held the road for around 6 hours. 23 arrests were made amid calls for the UK to redirect resources from the military and to address the climate and ecological crisis. Among the protesters were individuals and affinity groups from Wales, Cornwall, Yorkshire, London, and Scotland. The early start meant that the actions featured prominently in national media coverage of the start of of the rebellion.
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. The presence 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 Dr Rebecca Johnson from the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The Artboy performed slam poetry, and violinist Dmitri van Zwanenberg played inspiring tunes.
8th October 2019. XR Peace Rebels gathered again in the MoD Gardens. They did a die-in at the Whitehall gate of the MoD, sitting and lying for hours in heavy rain after pouring fake blood onto the ground to represent the planet dying from the twin existential threats of climate change and militarism. They were not arrested. Meanwhile 2 XR Peace Rebels were arrested outside the MoD whilst blocking the police lines coming up Whitehall.
9th October 2019. Another die-in at the MoD entrance in Whitehall led to 4 arrests – and taking around 40 police offers and more than an hour to clear the entrance.
10th October 2019. XR Peace lock-on in Trafalgar Square in support of other XR Rebels making sure they could retain occupation of the site. The 3 grandparents and 1 great grandfather held their ground for several hours before voluntarily releasing themselves in order to plan more actions. 1 arrested in Whitehall while supporting Extinction Rebellion rebels there.
11th October 2019. The day was spent setting up a presence in Trafalgar Square with a gazebo and banners. The main focus was on explaining that militarism is a central pillar of the exploitative forces that are destroying our precious earth. Several XR Peace Rebels spent the night in the gazebo and a pop up tent to occupy and guard the space.
14th October 2019. XR Peace blockaded the main entrance to the HQ of BAe Systems at 6 Carlton Gardens making the links between UK arms sales to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the climate and ecological emergency. 6 arrests were made.
That same evening XR Peace Rebels were arrested in their gazebo when the police ‘cleared’ Trafalgar Square. The police only gave XR Peace half an hour warning that they would be taking everything from Trafalgar Square. Deciding not to leave without protest the 4 in the gazebo quickly got into lock-on tubes to defy the theft of their property that was taken with no receipts given. 5 arrests were made.
17th October 2019. At 8am, XR Peace Rebels glued and locked themselves onto the doors of Leonardo UK’s HQ in Great George Street to protest the company’s involvement in the arms trade by providing guidance systems for missiles used in Yemen and Syria, as well as other media technology and telecommunications. 3 activists were arrested on the scene; a fourth was arrested for holding a banner.
At 9.30am 8 XR Peace Rebels glued together at the Supreme Court entrance in defiance of the imposition of section 14 restrictions on protest that prohibited any Extinction Rebellion protest in London. They called on the court to use its powers to uphold and strengthen the laws in relation to human rights and earth rights. They called for the protection of the rights to freedom of assembly, the recognition of the crime of ecocide, and for the recognition that Trident was criminally illegal. The Rebels all wore t-shirts with different messages. 8 arrests.
At 11am four more Peace Rebels glued or locked themselves onto the door at Lockheed Martin’s London HQ one of the biggest arm companies in the world, supplying weapons in Yemen and Syria. 3 people were arrested.
18th October 2019. XR Peace Rebels join the XR blockade of Oxford Circus. Two glued onto the bamboo structure to support the rebels retaking Oxford Circus. 2 arrests.
Over the 2 weeks of rebellion, XR Peace totalled 57 arrests for breaches of section 14 orders, public nuisance, highway obstruction, aggravated trespass and criminal damage.