Global Newsletter #88

Peaceful Protest Wins!

Friday, May 10, 2024 by Extinction Rebellion

Red Rebel celebrate a Belgian blockade by the EU parliament. Photo: Pieter Geens

This issue: April Victories! | Brussels Blockade | Let Lake Victoria Breathe!

Dear rebel,

When a small group of students pitched tents at Columbia University in New York to peacefully protest Israel’s genocide in Gaza, no one could have predicted it would spark a worldwide movement.

But then the university president decided to call in the riot police, 100 students were brutally arrested, and the outrage led to solidarity camps appearing on campuses right across America, and then the world.

For weeks, American students have braved police violence, a hostile media, fascist mobs, and political condemnation. More than 2000 have been arrested. But they remain defiant, and in their defiance they’ve made world leaders look weak, the Western media look deranged, and galvanised the Palestinian cause everywhere. They have emphatically proven that peaceful protest can change the world.

A non-violent student protester is arrested by LA riot police. Photo: Eric Kelly

In this issue, we underline the power of peaceful protest by spotlighting some amazing victories by ecoactivists over the last month. From corporate divestment to landmark court rulings to political concessions, April has been full of climate action wins, and you can find out about six of the best in our Special Report.

In Action Highlights, we cover a joint-blockade by Dutch and Belgian rebels in Brussels, the first fruit of a new European-wide alliance against fossil fuel subsidies. We also investigate another activist alliance in the Kenyan city of Kisumu, where protesters are struggling to preserve life in their local water source, Lake Victoria.

An alliance of young activists are making waves beside Lake Victoria, Kenya.

At the time of writing, there are 151 pro-Palestine camps in campuses across America, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Ireland, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Tunisia, Australia, and Japan. Student rallies have also been held in Italy, India and Lebanon. In Israel, two students refusing to serve in the military had their prison terms extended by an IDF court. There are young heroes everywhere you look.

A new generation is rejecting the horror and hypocrisy of the old world, and uniting to birth a new one. If students are our future, then for once, the future is looking bright.

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  • Action Highlights: Brussels Blockade, Let Lake Victoria Breathe Again!
  • Special Report: 6 Victories In April To Inspire Us
  • Action Round Up: Serbia, Hungary, Canada, Uganda, UK, Australia, USA, Spain, Rwanda, Sweden, Italy, DRC
  • Must Reads: Vincent Bevins Interview, Swiss Court Win Podcast, Panama Uprising, Forever Chemicals
  • Announcements: Kick Polluters Out of Africa, XR UK/South America Appeal, Liquidation Total!

Action Highlights

Police Violence for Stopping EU Fossil Subsidies

4 MAY | Brussels, Belgium

Red Rebels celebrate the arrival of the blockaders. Photo: Wouter van Leeuwen

Hundreds of rebels from across Europe, including bus-loads of activists from the Netherlands, have been subjected to police violence during a peaceful blockade in Brussels a month before EU elections.

270 rebels marched down a street beside the European Parliament, chanting and holding banners against fossil fuel subsidies, before sitting down to blockade the entrance to a tunnel. Water cannons were deployed but not used, with riot police instead encircling those protesters who refused to leave, handcuffing them with plastic zip ties, loading them onto buses, and holding some in cells overnight.

Worse, a group of 50 activists that included families, children and the elderly had gathered at a nearby public square to listen to talks by a European minister and former UN Special Rapporteur. Riot police also closed down this registered gathering, shoving some people to the ground and beating them with batons.

Rebels were soaked by heavy rain rather than the police water cannons, and used armlocks and glue to prolong the blockade. Photo: Pieter Geens

In total, 132 rebels were arrested during the protests, which was a collaboration between XR Belgium and XR Netherlands, and the first action organised by United for Climate Justice (UCJ), a new European coalition involving eco-groups from 15 different countries, and inspired by the A12 motorway blockades in the Netherlands.

The A12 campaign galvanised XR Netherlands, swelling it with new volunteers and eventually pushing the Dutch parliament to propose an end to fossil fuel subsidies, the campaign’s key demand. But since that high last year, the political process has stalled, with the “complexity of European agreements” being deployed as an excuse. This is why UCJ is now expanding the campaign to stop subsidies across the EU.

The EU spends more than €405,000,000,000 per year subsidising fossil fuels, ten times more than it spends on green policies. It means the average EU taxpayer is forced to pay around €2000 per year destroying the planet.

The UCJ campaign has already won fans within the European Greens political party, and rebels in the Netherlands have been invited to contribute to a national parliamentary debate on ending fossil fuel subsidies in June. Hopes remain high that all of Europe’s politicians can be convinced to stop funding planetary destruction.

Follow the Stop EU Fossil Subsidies campaign.

Let Lake Victoria Breathe Again!

19 APR | Kisumu, Kenya

An alliance of ecoactivists take to the streets of Kisumu city in Kenya.

Dozens of young activists have marched through the Kenyan city of Kisumu, on the north-eastern shore of Lake Victoria, and demanded that their government protect the key water source from toxic pollution and suffocating weeds.

Coordinated by Kisumu Environmental Champions, a community-based organisation founded by an 18-year-old student, and uniting young activists from multiple groups including XR, Mothers’ Rebellion, and Friday’s For Future, the day of action began with a 10km march along the lake.

Marchers called on the Kenyan government to take immediate action to ‘Let Lake Victoria Breathe Again’ and stop the fossil-fuel-produced pollution, plastic waste, and invasive water hyacinths that are choking the life within it.

Fish stocks in the lake are drastically depleting due to pollution, warming, and acidification, while vast amounts of plastic waste are managing to clog the biggest tropical lake in the world. The Champions have led several plastic clean-ups of the lake in recent months.

Plastic clean-ups and school eco-events has become regular sights in Kisumu.

Another core aspect of the day of action was education. Champions have been giving talks in local schools and community centres about how fossil fuels and the oil industry bring climate change, plastic waste, and pollution to their doorstep. More and more local people are now joining the environmental movement.

Despite contributing far less than 0.1% of planetary emissions, Kenya is suffering more acutely from the effects of global heating than the rich countries who are overwhelmingly responsible. Recent flooding in Kisumu and the surrounding region has killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more. The force and severity of the floods are unprecedented, and locals expect more in the coming weeks.

As well as calling for the restoration of Lake Victoria, Kisumu Environmental Champions want their government to sign the international Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and endorse a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution.

The group’s activist alliance are planning many more actions, including a climate camp, a sustainable transport campaign, and a screening of the film Shifting Power by Don’t Gas Africa. These young activists know that their future is in the balance right now, and they’re doing everything they can to promote care and respect for the living world on which we all depend.

Follow Kisumu Environmental Champions on Facebook

Special Report

6 Victories in April to Inspire Us

8–24 APRIL | Global

Victories in Switzerland, France, India, Ecuador, UK and Sweden.

There’s something about April. Five years ago, the April Rebellion in London saw XR go from fringe group to global protest phenomenon. And this year, April has seen rebels and their allies win a series of powerful victories right across the world. Here are six of the best to remind you that peaceful activism really is the answer...

APRIL 8 | Switzerland: Insurer Zurich Dumps Oil & Gas
In Issue 86 we covered the Insure Our Future campaign, which saw actions in 31 countries against major insurance firms that back fossil fuel projects. XR UK held a meeting with the CEO of Zurich, the world’s 6th biggest fossil fuel insurer, and weeks later, the firm announced it would no longer underwrite new fossil fuel projects. At the company's AGM, protestors musically reminded Zurich that "we will watch you."

APRIL 9 | France: European Court Rules Climate Inaction Illegal
Activists with KlimaSeniorinnen (Senior Women for Climate Protection) have won a landmark case in the European Court of Human Rights. The Swiss women argued that heat waves were ruining their health and restricting their lives, and the Court agreed, ruling that their government’s inaction on global warming was violating their human rights. The ruling means 46 countries in Europe could now see similar legal challenges for their own negligence around the climate crisis. Find out more by checking out the podcast in Must Reads.

APRIL 10 | India: Villagers Block Huge Adani Coal Mine
A huge proposed coal mine has been sent back to the drawing board after Indian villagers won their case against coal giant Adani Group in the High Court of Odisha. The court found that Adani and the Indian Government failed to properly consult local people about the impacts of the Bijahan mega-mine. Meetings with the villagers lasted only a single day, despite the mine threatening their homes, land and livelihoods. Days later, scientists and youth activists in the UK occupied a science museum to protest its sponsorship by Adani.

APRIL 21 | Ecuador: The People Say No (Again) To Corporate Courts
Ecuador’s people emphatically voted to keep an article of their constitution which stops global corporations from suing their government when laws challenge their interests. Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a convoluted legal mechanism used by Big Oil to penalise countries passing progressive climate policies. In 2012, an ISDS tribunal ordered Ecuador to pay a US oil company $1.5 billion in compensation, 135% of its annual healthcare budget. Despite the best efforts of the current oligarch-friendly administration, Ecuador remains a shining example of how countries can extract themselves from this farcical arbitration designed to bankrupt them for standing up to ecocidal corporations.

APRIL 22 | UK: Sign-Holding Rebel Defies Judge
Last year, a rebel held up a placard in silence outside a court. It reminded jurors that they had the legal right to find people not guilty. She did this after watching a trial where the ecoactivist defendants were banned by the judge from mentioning climate change, and subject to other repressive measures designed to stop juries sympathising with them. The following day, the judge had her handcuffed, locked up, and investigated by a team of government lawyers for contempt of court. After nearly a year, and hundreds of activists holding similar signs in solidarity, the case was thrown out of court, and the rebel, a retired social worker, is free.

APRIL 24 | Sweden: Restore Wetlands Declares Job Done!
In a press conference outside the Swedish parliament, the activists of Restore Wetlands announced they were getting off the motorway and putting away the glue. Why? Because after two years of blockading roads, drawing media attention, and triggering debates, 75% of the Swedish population think it’s important to restore the nation’s wetlands, and every political party has committed to doing so, with the government even making it a priority issue. Victories are rarely as sweet or total as this, and the activists are now turning their attention to the ecocidal peat industry.

Action Round Up

4 APRIL | Belgrade, Serbia: Healthy natural food, or toxic lithium-laced water? That was the choice rebels were offering outside the Ministry of Mining and Energy during Rio Tinto’s AGM in London. The mining corporation is planning to open a lithium mega-mine in Serbia, and the nation’s groundwater is at risk.

9 APR | Budapest, Hungary: Rebels rally outside the Marriott Hotel where the Budapest Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Summit conference is taking place. Rebels called on their government to ban new fossil fuel projects. Photo: Boglárka Nagy

9 APR | Toronto, Canada: Nine climate activists with Faith and Climate Action are arrested and fined for trespassing after forming a prayer circle inside a branch of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC is funding the Coastal GasLink Pipeline that is trespassing on unceded Wet'suwet'en lands, and is the 5th biggest funder of fossil fuels projects in the world.

13 APR | Jinja, Uganda: XR Uganda Great Lakes collaborate with village schools in the south to restore the local environment and plant trees. Days later, protests by families in the Western district of Buliisa were broken up by police. The families face eviction to make way for TotalEnergies’ Tilenga oil project, and have been offered inadequate compensation by the $170bn corporation.

20 APRIL | Bath & Adelaide, UK & Australia: Funerals for nature are held on opposite ends of the planet. Hundreds of Red Rebels draw vast crowds as they lead solemn marches through city centres to mourn the immense and continuing loss of biodiversity across the world.

20 APRIL | Boston, USA: XR Boston resist the planned expansion of Hanscom Airfield, which would increase private jet flights by 300% and wipe out the climate benefits of all solar panels ever installed in the state of Massachusetts. Two days later, 300 rebels occupied Seaport Bridge and demanded their Governor ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure.

20 APRIL | Barcelona, Spain: Blue Rebels lead a spiritual procession through an ancient part of the city to denounce the mismanagement of the historic drought that is devastating Catalonia. Emergency water restrictions have been in place in the region since February.

22 APRIL | Global: Earth Day actions are held around the world. In Sweden, 1500 Mothers Rebellion activists combine knitted scarves and wrap the 4.3km mega-scarf right around the parliament building. In Rwanda, activists plant bamboo along the Miguramo river to stop local farmland from flooding. In DRC, rebels visit a refugee camp in the east of the country and plant trees. In America, rebels hold a climate gala in the capital and make the mayor guest of honour (he didn’t show up).

26–30 APRIL | Stockholm, Sweden: Rebels take part in five days of ‘House on Fire’ rebellion in the Swedish capital. They blockaded the city’s financial sector, occupied the offices of Stora Enso for its forest-razing ecocide in Uruguay and Brazil, stripped naked outside H&M, and disrupted an airport.

27 APR | Turin, Italy: 150 rebels occupy the skyscraper HQ of Italy’s largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, for its vast funding of fossil fuel projects. Rebels scaled the outside of the building, occupied its lobby, and chained themselves to its entrance. 60 were arrested. The rebel action was just one of many in the city as it hosted a G7 meeting about climate, energy, and environment.

27 APR | Goma, DRC: XR Rutshuru collect plastic waste along the shores of Lake Kivu. A recent study showed the plastics industry releases four times as much greenhouse gas as the airline industry. Earlier in the month, rebels marched through the city and called on the Congolese government to immediately suspend all new oil and gas extraction in the country.

Must Reads, Watches, Listens

Swiss ecoactivists after winning a landmark EU legal case against their government.

Article: If We Burn - Learning From The Mass Protest Decade
American journalist and writer Vincent Bevins discusses his celebrated book ‘If We Burn’, which investigates why so many recent mass protest movements have promised so much but resulted in failure. The author explains why XR didn’t feature in the book, the lessons our movement might learn from his case studies, and how the Gaza student camps in America show that protest movements are learning from the failures of the past. The interview is also available as a podcast.

Podcast: How Swiss Women Won a Landmark Climate Case (26 mins)
A KlimaSeniorinnen activist explains how her group of elderly climate activists won their case against the Swiss government at the European court of human rights, while a climate journalist explains what the win means for future cases.

Video: The Fight Against Mining Extractivism in Panama (78 mins)
We covered last year’s incredible mass rebellion by the people of Panama against the mining industry in Issue 83. Now, Scientist Rebellion discusses the movement with two of its leaders, and explores the lessons that have been learned. The interview is in Spanish - use YouTube subtitles to translate into other languages.

Article: Ocean Spray Emits More PFAS Than Industry
XR France’s campaign against PFAS producer Arkema means the dangers of these ‘forever chemicals’ have featured in this newsletter. Now, new research has found that these man-made carcinogenic compounds, having leached into our oceans, are being sprayed back over our coastlines in high concentrations due to the aerosol effect of crashing ocean waves. As the nickname suggests, they’ll pollute these coastlines forever.


Help XR Africa Kick Polluters Out!

Donate Before 15 MAY

Colonialism will be alive and kicking at the Africa Energies Summit in London. The scramble for Africa’s resources has already lasted over 150 years. Now it must end!

On May 15th, the day of the summit, XR UK will be joined by 6 African groups, XR Uganda, XR Rwanda, XR Sudan, XR Sierra Leone, XR DRC and XR South Africa, to launch a huge month-long campaign to stop the exploitation of Africa by Big Oil.

They cannot do this alone. Help our African rebels pay for action materials and other expenses.

Just one of those actions, XR Rwanda’s campaign to Stop EACOP & DRC’s Peatland Auctions, will need £1200 to cover materials, transportation and lodgings.

Rebel with your wallet! Help stop the scramble for Africa with a donation now!

Donate What You Can

Join The ‘Liquidation Total’ Campaign!

24 MAY | Global

TotalEnergies has just announced record profits of €21.4 billion for 2023, while energy bills continue to rise. The oil and gas giant is destroying life and violating human rights around the world with impunity.

The Liquidation Total team are launching an action in Paris on 24 May, and we want it to go global! We are calling on people everywhere to oppose TotalEnergies and its shareholders!

We’ve released a media kit for non-French groups. It contains everything you need to communicate the action and mobilise people (including flyers, videos, messaging, action info, and more).

See you on the streets!

UK Rebels! Stop Ecocide in Colombia & Peru!

Write Now!

XR groups in Colombia (Top) Argentina (Left) & Peru (Right)

XR ABYA-YALA, an alliance of rebel groups in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, as well as ABColombia, call on UK-based rebels to pressure their MPs to sign an Early Day Motion that will be presented to the British Parliament this year.

If passed, this legislation will restrict the ecocidal practices of UK registered extractive corporations like Glencore, which operates mines in Colombia and Peru that contaminate water, destroy biodiversity, and threaten indigenous peoples.

Additionally, the legislation will block corporations like Glencore from demanding millions of dollars in compensation from the governments of Colombia and Peru for protecting the rights of its indigenous peoples.

Write to your MP using this template. Ask them to sign Early Day Motion 136.

Thank you

15 APR 2019 | London, UK: A pink boat somehow sails into Oxford Circus, just one of the five sites that rebels simultaneously occupy in the city, launching a rebellion that will last 10 days and turn Extinction Rebellion into a global phenomenon. For this writer, life would never be the same again.

Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at

This newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help our movement grow. We need money for this crucial work.

Donate What You Can

O rebelii

Rebelie proti vyhynutí je decentralizované mezinárodní nepolitické hnutí, které pomocí nenásilných přímých akcí a občanské neposlušnosti přesvědčuje vlády, aby spravedlivě jednaly proti klimatické a ekologické krizi. Naše hnutí je tvořeno lidmi ze všech koutů, kteří různými způsoby přispívají svým časem a energií. Možná máme místní skupinu blízko vás a rádi vás mezi námi přivítáme. Zapojte se …nebo zvažte finanční podporu.