We, the rebels

Federico Tisa

2019 - Ongoing

London, October 2019. Scotland Yard police arrested over 1.400 people. Climate activists who took part in non violent protests organized by the radical socio-political movement of Extinction Rebellion (XR) founded by Roger Hallam. “Rebels” “Crusties who live in hemp-smelling bivouacs” as the Prime Minister of United Kingdom Boris Johnson called them.

In December 2019 the city of Madrid hosts the COP25. As every year is organized fort he occasion the “Global Climate March”. This time, however, the proportions of the procession assume the dimension of a river in flood. More than 500 thousand people parade from Paseo del Prado to Nuevos Ministerios.

In 1992, the United Nations, gathered in Rio de Janeiro for a conference on the environment, produced a treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate change” seemed such a distant topic from reality. Few really knew how to asses the significance and the impact it would have on the whole world over the years. Since then, the climate situation has deteriorated dramatically and none has ever taken a serious interest in it.

In 2018 a young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, sat in front of the Swedish Parliament every day with a slogan: “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School Climate Strike) as a form of protest. After the General Elections on 9 September, she continued to demonstrate every Friday, launching so the international student movement: “Fridays For Future”. On many public occasions she was brutally offended because of her direct and with no discounts speeches and her determination.

Climate activists are asking politicians to tell the truth about the ecological emergency in general, to reach the zero carbon emissions by the 2025 and to set up a national assembly of citizens to oversee these changes and continue their actions against a policy that is hostile and interested in nothing more than monetary profit based on the fable of the eternal economic growth.

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  • Extinction Rebellion protesters attends one of an activist’s arrests by Scotland Yard Police. The symbol of the hourglass inscribed in a circle is the work of the British author ESP. It’s used by the group to indicate: “There’s no more time”. London, October 9, 2019.

  • An activist is arrested on the evening of the eviction of the “XR Burning Earth” site. In two weeks of protests there have been over 1.400 arrests. Detention for this kind of criminal code violation ranged from 8 to 12 hours. London, October 13, 2019.

  • Anja is an XR activist who divides her life between California and a small town near Oxford. During the Climate march organized in Madrid for the COP25 he was part of the Red Brigade. Madrid, December 6, 2019.

  • The third World Climate Strike in Geneva ends with a huge party at the Plaine de Plainpalais. Geneva, September 27, 2019.

  • One of the largest and also one of the last remaining occupied sites in Trafalgar Square, where night and day there’re actions, speeches and workshops. London, October 11, 2019.

  • A large group of demonstrators parade mainly dressed in black as the color of mourning for Planet Earth. Some with paper mache skeletons, others with the seriousness that befits a funeral. An orchestra precedes the funeral ceremony. London, October 12, 2019.

  • The night before the eviction of Trafalgar Square there was a big event in the square. Many activists gathered to support those who had the tent there and the rebellion. The traffic of this cenral area was blocked and diverted during all the days of the protests, thishas created inconvenience to motorists, but has made an area of the city usually uninhabitable, a completely different place much more human. London, October 13, 2019.

  • One of the last actions organized had as its purpose the occupation of the streets in the middle of the City of London. The financial district par excellence. On the morning of October 14, hundreds of activists gathered in the square in front of Bank Station. Many of them stuck to the ground in protest. London, October 14, 2019.

  • On the day of the second global climate strike, thousands of students also organized a protest demonstration outside the education department. Daze Aghaji, one of the leaders of the school strike movement said: “The turnout today is great and shows that young people are on the rise and that things will change”. London, May 24, 2019.

  • Friday, 15 March 2019 will go down in history of the fight for climate. In Italy, more than a million people took to the streets. Milan has the highest participation with 1000,000 demonstrators. The event in Piazza della Scala is moved to Piazza Duomo, because the first place is considered too small to accomodate them all. Milan, March 15, 2019.

  • A group of extinction Rebellion activists during a regenerative culture action in Turin. The second week of February, the group occupied Piazza Castello organizing a guided meditation workshop. Turin, February 6, 2020.

  • An activist of XR LGBTQ group during the occupation of the City area. The group with dozens of activists is called Rainbow Rebellion. London, October 14, 2019.

  • Trafalgar Square. During the days of the rebellion, in addition to the actions, many people take part in the debates that take place during the day. The main topic, of course, are the techniques of civil disobedience, the spread of the movement and information aimed at raising awareness of the serious risks caused by climate change. London, October 10, 2019.

  • Thousands of rebels march on Oxford Street, one of London’s shopping streets, in what they call a funeral march to express their sorrow and despair at climate change. Behind the banner with the words: “Act Now”, written on it, activists declare: “unite in pain, anger and love for life on Earth”. London, October 12, 2019.

  • Under the sun of Parliament Square there’re thousands of signs: “The kids are all right”, “Where the fuck is the government”, “This is what democracy looks like”. Ivy, a student said: “ I’m here because I don’t think it makes sense to have an education if there’s no future...I’m so frustrated knowing that the only people who really care are those who can’t vote...”. London, May 24, 2019.

  • The Invisible Circus during the action in front of the MI5 HQ in Millbank. The Red Brigade walks silently among the activists and crosses the Millbank Pier. London, October 15, 2019.

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