Two Kettering members of Extinction Rebellion who have joined the London protests have written a letter describing their experiences.
Jamie Wildman and Emily-Rose Fedorowycz have been in London for the demonstrations which have taken over the capital and have written a letter titled 'A Snapshot of the Rebellion' which describes their first day of protesting at Horse Guards Road on Monday, October 7.
Last night, the Metropolitan Police said they had arrested 800 people since the start of the protests and have asked continuing protesters to move to Trafalgar Square's pedestrianised area or face arrest.
Extinction Rebellion say they have three aims: to get all levels of government to declare a climate emergency, to set a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2025 and to create a citizens assembly to be consulted and suggest solutions to the climate crisis.
There have been demonstrations across the globe in cities as far as Buenos Aires, Islamabad and Cape Town.
Earlier this week, Kettering Extinction Rebellion held their own event in town, decorating a tree they had made with messages about the climate crisis which will be presented to the council.
Jamie and Emily-Rose have described their first day at the protests in the following letter:
"We arrived in central London with very little idea of what awaited us. Would it be carnage? In fact, it was a carnival. The Birdcage Walk-Horse Guards Road junction had been blockaded to demarcate the western end of East Midlands’ ‘Love Rebellion’ site, and was a mecca of like-minded rebels chanting, chalkers scrawling slogans on the road, XR flags flapping happily in the breeze, and dozens upon dozens of county neighbours socialising merrily as if they had lived a few doors down from one another for twenty years and this was their first street party.
It was humanity seen through the lens of an exceptional commonality—and by twisting it like a kaleidoscope, all the greatest colours of civilisation appeared at once. This single street corner, driven by a common cause, was one of the most caring, open, warm, lively, and endlessly generous (‘Here, have this entire box of chalk we brought if you like!’; ‘Would you like some cake?’) gatherings of people we have ever encountered. The word ‘stranger’ was not a part of the English language on the south side of St James’ Park that day: if you were XR, you were kin. And all the way down Horse Guards, kin were amassing, blockading, and celebrating the fact that they had all come together to fight for our planet’s future. There was power there, collectively capable of enacting change on a worldwide scale.
We met some rebels who hailed from Nottingham (easily distinguishable in the crowd, adorned, as they were, with charming Robin Hood caps), to which we exclaimed, ‘We’re from Kettering!’—as if it were a miracle we hadn’t crossed paths before that day. Such was the level of camaraderie between rebels, the distances between Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridge, Colchester, Norwich and Kettering simply evaporated. We were suddenly all of the same place.
The Red Rebels drifted eerily through in mid-afternoon, stopping outside HM Treasury (sound-tracked by distant chants of EXTINCTION! REBELLION!) before ethereally encircling a police van that had arrived at the blockade nearby like a shiver of sharks. XR had intimidation strategies of its own.
Outnumbered as we were by larger local contingents, we resolved to embody the spirit of ‘Love Rebellion’ by teaming up and doubling down our efforts. Stronger together, after all. We wow-ed at the giant flags being waved from Nelson’s Column and other festivities taking place at Trafalgar Square (including a hearse festooned with locked-on arrestables) as we made our way to purchase food for anyone in need of a pick-me-up back at Horse Guards. We met countless appreciative rebels afterwards as we snaked around handing out provisions before running out of supplies near sunset.
Remembering XR’s ‘we are all crew’ dogma, and noticing the food tent in St James’ Park was short-staffed, we recast ourselves as kitchen wenches for the remainder of the day: washing up, serving hot food to weary rebels and boiling water for tea under dim LED lights until the pot was empty, the customers had dried up, the plates were clean, and darkness had truly set in.
As we passed the blockade on our way off site, we somehow found ourselves engaged in a philosophical discussion about purgatory and limbo with two ebullient night-shifters holding an XR banner barring the road. It was just another unforgettable gig-lamp of memory of the many lit that day.
Weary ourselves, we saluted the pair, wandered back to Trafalgar Square, and descended into the trenches of Charing Cross tube station. We had left kin behind to man the front, but would resurface the following day to reinforce and resupply once more. In doing so, we had become a part of the great rebel flux: falling back in search of rest and recuperation as others rose and advanced to take our place.
The Rebellion cannot be accurately distilled into words––it is an extraordinary, reinvigorating spectacle that you must experience for yourself. If you can go, do. We left London on Tuesday evening with the thickly-accented words of a good ol’ Yorkshireman whirling around us: the world we’re living in right
now just ‘DUZN’T MEYK CARBUN SENSE!’, so get down to London and join your kin in the fight for climate justice!"