Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters to stand in European elections

‘We want to take this kind of energy to Europe,’ says group of nine candidates

Adam Forrest
Friday 26 April 2019 23:09
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Extinction Rebellion: Climate change protesters glue themselves to entrance of London Stock Exchange

Environmental activists who participated in the recent Extinction Rebellion protests have announced they are standing in next month’s European elections.

Nine candidates are running to be MEPs under the banner of Climate and Ecological Emergency Independents – including seven in London and two in the south-west England region – having been “inspired” by the disruptive demonstration across the capital.

In a statement, the collective said they wanted to see Europe reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and have new citizen assemblies set up to give ordinary people a voice in shaping environmental policy.

“The Climate and Ecological Emergency Independents are inspired by the Youth Strikes 4 Climate, Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion movement,” the group said in a statement ahead of the 23 May vote.

“Their collective actions have created a shift in public awareness around the need to urgently act on the climate emergency.”

The list of candidates includes 19-year-old Goldsmiths University student Daze Aghaji and 21-year-old campaigner Claudia McDowell.

“We want to take this kind of energy to Europe, to demonstrate a different kind of politics that goes beyond party politics,” the group said. “A politics that is more human and ordinary and says, in the face of climate collapse, we can face this together.”

More than 1,100 people were arrested for blocking roads and bridges during 10 days of XR protests across London.

A group of Christian activists, including a cobbler and an 83-year-old man, faced a crown court hearing on Friday after allegedly obstructing a train during the demonstrations.

Activists stand on top of a train at Canary Wharf Station during Thursday's protest in London

Grandfather Philip Kingston, Diana Warner, and Northampton University shoemaking teacher Nick Cooper appeared from custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Friday.

All three indicated not guilty pleas after being accused of gluing themselves to a DLR train in the Canary Wharf financial district in London on Thursday morning.

Activists held signs stating “Business as usual = death” and “Don’t jail the canaries” and held a prayer vigil on top of a carriage on Thursday, the final day of protests.

Prosecutor Alex Britton told the court “numerous trains were affected and delayed” and estimated the cost of the disruption to the rail network to be around £80,000.

They were among six activists charged with obstructing trains or carriages on the railway by an unlawful act. The other three, Ian Bray, 51, Richard Barnard, 46, and Ruth Jarman, 55, were due in court later on Friday afternoon.

District Judge Susan Williams said: “The widespread public disruption that took place yesterday at the height of rush hour was quite clearly planned. I take the view this matter is too serious to be tried in this court so I’m allocating your case to the crown court.”

Three other activists from the Extinction Rebellion group, also known as XR, have previously appeared in court charged over a separate scaling of a DLR train in Canary Wharf. One has since been bailed from custody, according to media reports.

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