Warwick district members of Extinction Rebellion movement were in London as part of mass protests in response to climate crisis
Members of the newly formed Warwick district branch of the international protest movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) were among those taking part in an event in London earlier this month.
The purpose of the rebellion event, which took place from Monday October 7 to Saturday October 19, was to get the Government to agree to XR's three demands and for more members of the public to become aware of the climate crisis.
Initially Extinction Rebellion wanted to cause "peaceful disruption" to the Government by occupying 11 sites around Westminster.
The 40 members of the Warwick District XR grpup who took part were part of a larger, regional, grouping of the Midlands and East of England which occupied Horse Guards Parade opposite the Treasury.
Chris Philpott, 69, a retired teacher and teaching assistant who is a founder member of the Warwick district branch, said: "The theme of our site was the “love rebellion” to express the non-violent nature of our protest.
"The Police from the offset were intent on clearing as many sites as possible and our site held out until Wednesday of the first week.
"In the first week I moved to three different sites. In the latter half of the rebellion two main sites remained, Vauxhall gardens and Trafalgar Square.
"They were eventually cleared in the second week and the Metropolitan Police declared that XR were banned from central London.
"Despite this, protests continued as there were an estimated 30,000 rebels in the capital.
"The effectiveness of the protests was that they targeted the government and institutions which perpetuate the damage caused by climate change.
"For instance, at our site we read out an alternative budget statement in front of the Treasury highlighting the need to de-invest in fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.
"This theme was pursued in the second week by a massive protest in front of the Bank of England calling for a withdrawal of subsidies given by the government to support fossil fuel industries.
"At Gatwick Airport I was part of a peaceful protest against further expansion of airports when I had the opportunity to perform some of my songs.
"These were interspersed with mock “die ins” to highlight that air travel drives climate change that will cause millions of people to die in the future.
"There was also a protest at City Airport with many arrests.
"Highlighting the ongoing mass extinction of species was marked with a funeral march down Oxford Street attended by 30,000 people.
"On the last day there was a march of 3,000 rebels with the theme that we are all “caught red handed” because we are part of a system that creates climate change, thus everyone painted their hands red.
"The march went to all major government departments and there were speeches demanding what the government has done about the climate emergency since it was declared in May.
"Overall I was inspired by the presence of all ages of people behaving in a non-violent way to demonstrate peacefully.
"1,700 people felt so strongly they were prepared to sacrifice their civil liberty and get arrested by peacefully blocking roads.
"XR had a good relationship with the police - members are trained in de-escalation and worked with officers to make sure that there was no verbal or physical violence towards the rebels.
"Throughout it was clear we had issues with the government, not the police.
"The big success of the action was that it brought climate change to the forefront of debate in the media both nationally and internationally."