Extinction rebellion: Climate change activists block Bristol roads as part of 'die-in' protest

Protest held in city’s main shopping district in bid to highlight waste in fashion industry

Adam Forrest
Saturday 01 June 2019 21:29 BST
Extinction Rebellion protesters stage 'die-in' at Cabot Circus shopping area
Extinction Rebellion protesters stage 'die-in' at Cabot Circus shopping area (Twitter / @arrowsmithali)

Climate change protesters blocked traffic in Bristol city centre as part of demonstration organised by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) campaign group.

Activists halted cars on on several roads around the Cabot Circus shopping district on Saturday before staging various protests to highlight waste in the fashion industry.

While a handful of activists were seen posing semi-naked alongside dummies inside shop windows, bearing slogans about the environmental cost of cheap clothing, hundreds of others joined a “die-in” by lying down inside the main shopping mall.

Environmentalists also staged an impromptu catwalk show and held workshops on mending, upcycling and swapping second-hand clothing on the pedestrianised streets of Cabot Circus.

Organisers said the day of direct action – entitled “Disrupt the Circus of Excess” – took place in the “consumer heart of Bristol to highlight unnecessary consumerism”.

XR is calling on its supporters to buy no new clothing for at least one year, until 30 April 2020. “If we have not seen meaningful change in the industry, the boycott will renew for a second year,” said a spokesperson.

“Fashion, clothing and textiles production is one of the most polluting industries in the world, with a carbon footprint matching the whole of Russia, causing untold suffering of mistreated workers, damaging the mental health of millions through unrealistic idols of “beauty”, and resulting in massive amounts of waste and chemical pollution.”

More than 1,000 XR campaigners were arrested in London last month during 10 days of non-violent civil disobedience.

Earlier this week a spokesperson for XR said the group was considering using drones to shut down Heathrow Airport this summer. If the government refuses to all Heathrow expansion, the group plans to take action in a bid to close the airport for up to 10 days from 1 July.

Dozens of activists were filmed “swarming” the roads outside Cabot Circus on Saturday afternoon, blocking cars while handing out flyers to delayed drivers.

Campaigner Steve Rees, 60, handed out homemade flapjacks to some of the motorists.

“It’s been a bit nerve wracking at times, we’ve had one or two motorists who obviously weren’t happy, but on the whole people have been very, very understanding,” he told The Bristol Post. “I think it’s important to be out here, doing our bit.”

Avon and Somerset Police said no arrests were made during today’s protests.

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