October 08, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
International Rebellion is here. And it’s bigger and more beautiful than we dared to imagine. This is what mass civil disobedience looks like.
It’s happening. It can’t be ignored. It’s only growing stronger.
It’s a rebellion.
We’re back on the roads – with as much joy, fear, love and courage as ever. We’re shutting down cities – not because it’s fun (though it can be), but because it’s our last option for stopping this toxic system in its tracks. Our world is dying; to save it, we’ll need everyone – wherever and whoever you are – to do your bit.
And though we’re still somewhat short of the shared, global consciousness we need, we’re getting ever closer.
This International Rebellion which began on Monday is so vast it’s almost impossible to take it all in. Thousands of people flood 60 cities across the globe, with over 700 brave rebels arrested as they stand up for their right to life, and that’s just the start.
It’s not just a question of quantity. With every season that passes, we grow more organised, more unified, more creative, more courageous.
Just look at the 11 vibrant sites held around the centre of London, the choir of Amsterdam rebels, the blood poured on the bull statue in Wall Street in New York, the ambition of our banner-hangers, the Red Brigade arriving in Tel Aviv and Istanbul, underwater protest art in Mexico, the boats of every shape and size that we are so desperately trying to keep afloat.
We’re a movement unlike any other.
This newsletter team will do everything we can to keep up and to showcase the unreal brilliance of our young movement. We can only apologise in advance for not capturing every aspect of this glorious, unfathomably complex process that is our rebellion.
We hope that wherever this reaches you – whether you’re superglued to a road, camping out in the rain, deep in spreadsheets and planning, or at home drinking your coffee – you will be touched by what is going on right now all over the world. We hope you understand that it’s for you, and for every human being alive and not yet alive.
You are not alone in this beautiful mess. And it’s not too late to join in.
If you’d like to see previous newsletter issues, you can find them here.
As we enter this crucial phase in human history, our Rebellion will need money to make sure our message is heard. Anything you can give is appreciated.
London Blockades Westminster
7 OCT | London, UK
“How we have grown” — The Red Rebel Brigade, London
Over 275 rebels have been arrested on a momentous day which marks the beginning of XR’s October Rebellion in London. Early on Monday morning, rebels from all over the country mobilised and successfully took 11 main sites around Westminster in central London, including two key bridges.
Rebels drove a hearse into the ‘Burning Earth’ site in Trafalgar Square, parked it, and locked and glued themselves to the vehicle. The ‘undertaker’ in the drivers’ seat D-locked his own neck to the steering wheel.
Footage broadcast on ITV News shows police officers desperately trying to prevent more rebels gluing themselves underneath the vehicle, as well as a deeply moving moment where a father locked onto the underside of the hearse reveals why he is taking this drastic measure. In the back of the hearse, rebels had mounted a coffin painted with the words ‘OUR FUTURE’.
Meanwhile, a tower of scaffolding was positioned in the road, which rebels climbed and glued onto. They held this for most of the day, before being lifted off in orange sacks by police officers kitted out in climbing gear. Latest videos show rebels still going strong, including those attached to and inside the hearse.
In an exciting turn of events, a rebel wedding was held in the middle of the blocked Westminster Bridge (a first for the bridge, as far as we know!) to the sound of XR cheers and a feisty brass band. Love was truly in the air.
Also seen on the bridge were yoga enthusiasts, a ceilidh with bagpipes, and, floating beneath the bridge, an XR boat headed for the Houses of Parliament. XR filled the road outside Downing Street, blockaded Westminster Bridge nearby, and a stream of tents and campers continued from there all the way to Lambeth Bridge.
Despite the efforts of peacefully protesting rebels in London today, pre-planned and persistent police confiscations have left blockades lacking infrastructure and amenities. However, officers failed to confiscate the rebel spirit, which lives on in furious love and determination.
The Rebellion is alive and well. Join us in London!
For a fuller update with news from all the sites, click this button:
London rebels, check out our Rebellion Needs for practical ways you can help rebels on the ground right now. Priorities are furniture for blockades and hot water and ready-to-eat vegan food for the campers!
Paris – “Occupation pour la suite du monde” – April’s boat crosses the channel
7 OCT | 15:00 onwards | Place de Chatelet, Paris, France
XR France managed to block and occupy Paris’ most central and busiest intersection, near the Nôtre-Dame cathedral. Rebels, aware of the sensitivity of the site, kept the location secret until the last minute and attached themselves to flower planters to complicate police efforts to remove them.
Rebels reminiscent of the now symbolic pink boat Berta Cáceres that reigned over London’s Oxford Circus during the last international rebellion can be reassured – its blue brother has crossed the channel for this October and cast its anchor in Parisian waters.
As we are “all in the same boat”, its DJs and dancers are inviting passers-by to join this festive occupation in all of its creativity, and keep the troops energized and regenerated for a lasting rebellion.
Climate Camp Berlin
7 OCT | Berlin, Germany
Our uprising begins. From early morning, 1000 rebels blocked the “Big Star” roundabout surrounding Berlin’s Siegessäule as well as a key junction at Potsdamer Platz. As the sun rose, peaceful rebels danced and sang.
Our ship, the Arche Rebella, has been put together once again in a new location. “Captain” Carola Rackete stated the simple truth: “The situation is more than severe: ecosystems and species are threatened by the climate catastrophe and the actions of mankind. The planet and its natural resources are our basis of life – if it is not in balance, the consequences will be catastrophic for the planet and for all of humanity.”
Berlin rebellion takes to the air!
3000 rebels held Potsdamer Platz – with the help of lots of potted plants and a Red Rebel Brigade – and the site was buzzing. Rebels continued to hold the Platz for longer than expected, with some chaining themselves together.
Even as police threatened rebels with physical violence if they failed to clear the blockade, our mood could not be beaten! We were dancing, singing and sending out a strong signal about the climate crisis.
It was early evening before police were able to begin slowly clearing rebels. Two thousand rebels remained and the good mood continued as food was shared, even as police began confiscating our equipment.
Madrid – Dia Uno
7 OCT | Madrid, Spain
Madrid rebels had a dramatic first day of Rebellion! 300 rebels surrounded a pink boat to block a bridge and were greeted by an alarming police response that included twisting arms, pressing thumbs into rebels’ eyes and putting pressure under their jaws. 10 rebels were hospitalised and many others suffered minor injuries. There were 43 arrests that day in Madrid.
But their spirits were not broken. The rebels went onto cause further disruption and set up camp in front of Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition. Rebels dressed in red, blue and brown – representing forest fires, rising sea levels and desertification – stalked others dressed in animal costumes in a striking performance about mass extinction.
Read the full story here.
7 OCT | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam rebelled against a ban imposed by the mayor and policeand brought non-violent direct action to the heart of the city. In the early hours, eager rebels gathered to block off roads in front of the city’s famous museums.
In addition to beautiful paintings by Vermeer and Van Gogh, tourists viewed a modern day decor of brave earth-protectors fighting for their democracy and freedom of speech. The site then toured around the Heineken Experience to make sure any tourists there didn’t miss out.
In a miscalculated response, the police blocked off the first protest site, playing into our rebels’ hands, who staged an impromptu die-in on the Dam square instead.
The protests ended in over 100 arrests with rebels responding to police aggression by collectively chanting ‘We are peaceful, what are you?’
Four large city buses transported the arrestees away. Cries of peaceful resistance and tunes from the busses echoed far and wide through the capital’s narrow streets and over the canals.
The first reports ofsmiley rebels released from custody are already in! After a good night’s sleep in the newly established rebel town in front of the Rijksmusuem, Dutch rebels will bring back the action tomorrow with a gathering at the Vondelpark.
The Bull of Wall Street
7 OCT | New York, USA
Around 90 New Yorker rebels were arrested yesterday after they launched a wave of actions in the city’s famous financial district. Protesters poured fake blood over Wall Street’s iconic Bull statue, held a very bloody die-in outside the New York stock exchange, and then blocked a nearby road.
The die-in was attended by the stunning Red Brigade, and featured a New Orleans funeral band that got the hundreds of rebellious mourners dancing in the streets. Tombstones mentioning hurricanes and fires made worse by the climate crisis were held aloft, along with a coffin with the words “Our future” written on the side. Once the fun was over, rebels clean-up crews stepped in to mop the fake blood away.
Police set up a perimeter and arrested rebels in waves. Despite the high arrest count, the sunkissed rebellion base in nearby Washington Square park was buzzing. Actions will be continuing here over the coming days, and are expected to spread to Chicago and Washington DC later in the week.
For more details on what the rebels of New York are up to, check out their own daily updates.
A new chapter for XR Canada
7 OCT | Toronto, Canada
XR Toronto gathered at Playter Gardens in the city’s east end for a day of October Rebellion. After an early morning debriefing, protesters took to the Bloor Viaduct with banners, signs, and megaphones, numbers bolstered by other groups and allies.
There, they cordoned off the bridge and nearby Danforth Avenue from rush hour traffic, allowing the space to play host to a multitude of activities. In addition to activist speeches and performances, the group participated in singing, meditation and yoga sessions while other protestors chalked key messages along the concrete.
Looming over the action were Extinction Rebellion banners and messages, draped across the Viaduct walls, and the organization’s iconic hourglass logo set at an impressive height.
As the morning wore on, police announced a request for dispersal, yet several rebels remained. This group sat or stood in front of large, red and yellow “Act Now” block letters while the rest of the protesters swelled to either side of Danforth Avenue with songs of peace and hope. Arrestees – all nonviolent – were eventually taken into police cars and driven off; the remaining group returned to Playter Gardens for camaraderie and regeneration.
Toronto’s action upon the Viaduct reached a wide audience of receptive hearts. Hard work is ahead but another river has undoubtedly been crossed. With actions from Halifax to Victoria, today marked a new chapter of XR’s fight for climate justice in Canada.
Aussie rebels bring the heat
7 OCT | Melbourne, Australia
The day began with a sacred ceremony on the steps of Parliament House, when rebels, still waking up, took gum leaves and received the welcome via smoke cleansing before moving back to the central campsite of Carlton Gardens.
Inside the gardens there were family events, talks, training sessions and a choir. A massive Declaration of Rebellion was made against the criminal inaction of the world’s governments on the climate and ecological emergency.
Upwards of a thousand people came together at 16:00 for a march through the CBD (Central Business District), which was successfully disrupted from 16:00 – 19:00, in a colourful, energetic, peaceful, respectful action. Some carried a glass coffin, like a fish tank, filled with aquatic plants and rocks to illustrate concern for about the impact of climate change on oceans.
The plan was to march through the city creating swarms in key intersections as a taste of actions that will follow for the entire week. The police had a strong presence, including mounted officers. At least 10 rebels were arrested, sacrificing their liberty to draw attention to the climate emergency and the need to act.
Extinction Rebellion Victoria acknowledges that Camp Carlton and the Spring Rebellion take place on the stolen land of the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation. Sovereignty was never ceded.
Read more about the beautiful and courageous action from the International Rebellion in XR Unchained. There is so much to tell.
Excitingly, XR India and Sri Lanka held their first ever XR actions on the 6th – rebels acted with incredible heart and courage even amidst possible police interference. Meanwhile in New Zealand, rebels blockaded a crucial street outside the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with the iconic pink boat.
In Latin America, rebels turned out in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico to call for immediate action from their governments. Brazilian rebels held a die-in on Copacabana beach and XR Argentina held three different rebellious actions in Buenos Aires.
Europe truly outdid itself this time, with creative actions happening all over, including Athens, Vienna, Rome, Istanbul, and Moldova (to name but a few).
Across the globe, rebels took to the streets with love and rage to call upon their governments and politicians to #ActNow to mitigate the climate and ecological crisis. International Rebellion will continue with even more brilliant events in the coming weeks.
Blood runs over Italian rebels in front of Montecitorio Palace, Rome.
Everyone puts their oar in to help block this intersection in Wellington, New Zealand. 45 were arrested on the first day.
Rebels in Los Cabos, Mexico, perform underwater in a stunning piece about modern life called ‘The vanity, the distraction, the blindness’
In Vienna, rebels turned out in their hundreds to peacefully disrupt the city. 70 rebels were arrested.
Argentine rebels proudly hung a banner off this lovely tower in Retiro, Buenos Aires
Sri Lankan rebels braving the torrential rain to launch their first ever XR action
We know that many of our readers who are unable to participate directly in one of our big actions are still really keen to get involved. The great news is that there are plenty of other ways in which you can make a really valuable contribution, wherever you are.
Volunteer for a support role with XR – many can be done remotely, so you can still take an active role even if you live a long way from the major centres and protest sites. For example, this newsletter is put together by people from all over the world – if you think you could help with the newsletter team, please fill in this form.
Raise local awareness – we need people to understand why we’re taking action and why they should join or support us. The easiest way to do this is simply discussing it with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. You could also hand out leaflets and talk to people in your local area, organise a “Heading for Extinction” talk, or even form a local group!
Make a donation – you can donate money to support our activities through our website. You can also contribute to local groups in many different ways, such as helping out with printing or providing a meeting space. In some locations, supplies and equipment are being confiscated in an effort to stop our protests – by providing replacement items you can help them continue.
- A great piece on the motivations of spiritual leaders from diverse faiths and denominations rebelling together in London
- The London arrestees from April now going through the courts
- For those thinking about joining the action, a rebel sharesinsights and encouragement from his experience of the April uprising
- We will never surrender – a song for the cause
- Arrestables photo essay by The Guardian
Humans of XR
‘Hi, I’m Nathaniel. I will be turning one during the Rebellion. My mummy is an XR fundraiser and my daddy teaches social justice at University. My older sister went to the Youth Climate Strike, although she is a bit too young to understand the urgency of the situation, let alone the politics behind it. I am way too little to comprehend any of it, but I like mummy’s pink book with the funny sign on the back cover.
I don’t understand any of these things because I’m a baby. You do. I can’t act, because I can’t even walk yet. You can. I can’t speak up for the world, because I only know one word. You can.
Why don’t you?
For my 1st birthday I want CHANGE.’
To read more human stories – or to write your own – join our Facebook group.
Thank you for reading. This rebellion has been magnificent so far – and it’s only Day 1!
Keep up the good work!
If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.