2 peace activists arrested outside MoD at Extinction Rebellion blockade

Two XR Peace activists have been arrested this afternoon after blockading the Ministry of Defence. The activists, who are taking action as part of Extinction Rebellion’s October Rebellion, were blocking Whitehall between Downing St and the Ministry of Defence to demand that the government take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

Angie Zelter, one of those arrested, said:
“Climate change causes war and war causes climate change. About 6% of global carbon emissions are from military activity. Militarism is one of the central pillars of the exploitative global industrial complex. To avert the climate crisis will require radical social transformation, including ending militarism and war.”

Janet Fenton, another XR Peace activist from Edinburgh, grandmother and Vice Convenor of Scottish CND, while blocking the MoD, said:
“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. The governments thatare ignoring the nuclear weapons ban treaty are the same irresponsible minority that are failing to take adequate action to respond to the climate emergency.”

Kate McDermot, a second arrestee from Powys, said:
“I’m acting on behalf of polar bears who are facing possible extinction because of the melting of the ice caps.”

XR Peace is supporting blockades throughout the week. They hope to highlight the contribution militarism makes to the climate emergency.

After pouring fake blood to show that climate change and militarism are killing the planet Fenton and three other XR Peace activists are continuing to blockade the entrance to the Ministry of Defence. They were removed from the entrance and returned for a second time.

XR Peace is a coalition of peace groups including Trident Ploughshares, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 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 and Nipponzan Myohoji UK Peace Pagodas.

XR Peace Monday update

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 Arrests as XR Peace Blockades Victoria Embankment outside MoD

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:

Calling everyone: We’re ready to set up the XR Peace site

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.

There will be a team working hard to get our message and pictures out. Ask all your friends and family to share and spread the story far and wide. Follow us on Facebook and Share our posts.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/394177674567092/

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

Good luck everyone. See you on the streets! 

Monday Occupation outside MoD, Victoria Embankment : Programme of Speakers

Activist Bruce Kent at the #StopTrident rally at Trafalgar Square

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.

Haywain with Cruise Missiles by Peter Kennard
Haywain with Cruise Missiles by Peter Kennard

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

Press Release: The Peace Movement is joining with Extinction Rebellion

XR PEACE Press Release 25th September 2019

The Peace Movement is joining with Extinction Rebellion to Demand Government Action on the Climate

A coalition of peace and anti-nuclear groups known as XR Peace is joining Extinction Rebellion to disrupt business as usual around Westminster as part of the October Rebellion. XR Peace will block the road on the Embankment adjacent to the Ministry of Defence HQ starting on Oct 7th.

As well as people occupying the road there will be an extensive programme of workshops and discussions, exploring the impact of war and militarisation on the climate. The use or threat of military power backs up the political power and corporate self interest that is resisting telling the truth and preventing the changes needed to address the climate crisis. The undemocratic nature of those power structures must be challenged by climate change and anti-militarist activists working together with people from many other movements.

The peace movement has a long history of nonviolent civil resistance and will provide a space for conflict resolution and for ‘active listening’ for the general public as well as participants in the blockade.

Organisations who have joined the XR Peace coalition are: 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.

Jane Tallents of Nukewatch said “The inevitable climate crisis will lead to more conflict and more war, even nuclear war. At the same time the huge use of resources and the carbon emissions associated with the military worldwide drives global warming and all its life threatening consequences. We must do all we can to make Governments take action on the science”

Angie Zelter of Trident Ploughshares said “Militarism and war are inextricably linked with the destruction of habitats. Our presence from 7th October outside the Ministry of Defence will highlight the links between militarism and the climate emergency and call for an immediate transfer of the resources, skills and people power from the military into addressing the climate crisis. We need systemic change if we and our ecosystem are to survive.”

Contacts

Angie Zelter xrpeace@gn.apc.org

Jane Tallents tp2000@gn.apc.org

XR Peace demands
“Now is the time to work together, globally, to create a resilient and caring society that will:

  1. 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;
  2. Act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025; and
  3. 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.
  4. XR Peace demands 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 threat of climate catastrophe that now faces all peoples of the earth.

XR Peace makes explicit the effects of militarism and war on our ecological/climate emergency

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.