Skip to content

Illustration by Security Management

Welcome to the Extinction Rebellion

Back in 2018, protesters organized and launched the first Extinction Rebellion in the United Kingdom, calling for the government to take immediate steps against climate change and declare a "climate and ecological emergency." 

Now, the movement has partnerships with groups in several other countries, and together they have promised two weeks of international protests against climate change. Although the groups identify as a "non-violent civil disobedience activist movement," hundreds of participants were arrested because of the protests. The Washington Post noted that although the participants echo the protests supporting Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion has attracted a much wider demographic, including young professionals, parents, grandparents, teenagers, and others worried about climate change and recent habitat and species loss. 

According to the BBC, in London, more than 130 people were detained on Monday, 7 October, for "causing disruption." Protesters there promised to stop business as usual at important locations in the city, including Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament, at times blocking roads and bridges in central London.

In Britain, the protesters listed three specific demands from their group to the government, which include:

  1. To have the government declare a "climate emergency;"
  2. To legally commit to reaching net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025 and stop biodiversity loss;
  3. And form and recognize citizen assemblies (a group of public representatives) to oversee a climate plan.

Another 30 activists in Sydney, Australia, were arrested in response to hundreds of people blocking a road by initating a sit-in. In Amsterdam, more than 100 people were arrested for erecting a tent camp on a main roadway outside of the Dutch national museum, the Rijksmuseum. Comparatively minor arrests occurred in New Zealand after protesters surrounded the building that hosts the government department that grants oil and gas drilling permits. 

Other protests have been reported or planned for Melbourne, Australia; Brisbane, Australia; Delhi, India, New York City, U.S.; Berlin, Germany; and Paris, France. 

You can read more about protest security in the Security Management article, "Preparing for Protests."  You can also read a discussion on how climate change impacts, such as rapidly melting polar ice caps, can significantly impact and threaten national security in the Security Management article "Climate Change as a National Security Threat."