Teenage climate protester who climbed crane in Norwich is ‘cold but in good health’

Extinction Rebellion activist says he has ‘no idea how long’ he will remain at top of structure

Daisy Lester
Sunday 08 November 2020 17:15
The teenage climate crisis activist from Extinction Rebellion staging the protest at the top of the crane, 7 November
The teenage climate crisis activist from Extinction Rebellion staging the protest at the top of the crane, 7 November

A teenage climate crisis protester who has remained at the top of a crane in Norwich since scaling the structure more than 24 hours ago has said he is "cold but in good health".

The 17-year-old member of Extinction Rebellion, who climbed the crane on Duke Street early on Saturday morning, took with him a sleeping bag, supplies and several banners advocating his climate cause.

Alex Sidney, from Dereham, Norfolk, said: “I’m still up here, a bit cold but still in good health for now.”

Speaking to the PA news agency, he added: “Last night was cold and the condensation from the fog in the early hours managed to soak me, so that contributed to it.”

The teenager, on his gap year, said he had “no idea how long” he would remain at the top of the crane, but said it was "necessary to be up here with these banners up to ensure that the message continues to circulate and until the government take action".

The demonstration was organised after the Extinction Rebellion movement postponed a mass demonstration due to England’s second national lockdown. Protesting is not listed as an exemption in the revised list of exceptions to the latest coronavirus restrictions.

His supplies include pasta, which he cannot boil as his stove ran out of gas last night. He has just over a litre of water, some hard sweets, a cushion, basic tools and battery packs, as well as his phone and a speaker for music.

The gantry where the teenager is camping, just outside the crane’s cab, is around 33 metres off the ground.

Alex Sidney on a crane on Duke Street in the city, which he scaled on Saturday as part of a protest by the group against the governments climate inaction

One local climate issue cited by the protester was the Wensum Link, a dual carriageway in Norfolk, which he said was “destroying ancient trees, barbastelle bats, and polluting our protected chalk streams".

“We need our council to rethink this project and call it off,” he said.

After attending the scene just before 6:40am, Norfolk police arrested three people in connection with the incident before releasing them on bail.

When asked about the police presence, Alex said: “They have refused to provide any food or water, and won't be able to get me down – they're just starving me until I am forced to come down.”

James Graham, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Norwich, said: "The message, fundamentally, is that while we know Covid is an immediate problem, it does not trump the reality that our world is changing faster than the life on it, including us, can handle.

"Yes, obviously working at height can be dangerous but in addition to the health and safety measures already in place on site to minimise the risk of accidents, Alex is a bright young man who is fully invested in his own safety.

“None of us want to see anyone getting hurt and we risk assessment all our actions beforehand."

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