Campaigners arrested over role in mass climate change protests
PUBLISHED: 16:00 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:20 01 May 2019
Three campaigners from North Somerset were among the hundreds of people who were arrested during Extinction Rebellion's protests in the capital.
Eight people from the Shipham branch and six from the Weston group took part in the protests last week which saw campaigners form blockades and stop traffic across London to raise awareness of the climate crisis.
Rebekah West, aged 39, who set up the Mendip Extinction Rebellion group, handcuffed herself to a boat in Oxford Circus and spent 37 hours in police cells.
She said: “I was on Waterloo Bridge on the first day and we resisted moving away and were arrested then. I spent 13 hours in a cell.
“After that I went to Oxford Circus where the pink boat was and locked myself onto the underneath of it.
“That led to the police cutting us out and I spent 24 hours in a cell.”
She added: “The crisis is such I'm willing to go as far as it takes.
“If you look at history, such as the Suffragettes, it took people to sacrifice their freedom and go to prison in order to change policy.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has given us a decade to make sure temperatures don't increase above 1.5 degrees centigrade.
“It's imperative we act now but politicians take a long time to make decisions, so we are going to put pressure on them until they make changes.
“If policies don't change, we will be back with XR in many other places.”
Extinction Rebellion wants the Government to tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency.
It also wants leaders to act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Dr Sandy Budden-Hoskins, from Uphill, was arrested during the protests after she glued herself to the pavement.
Rob Layton, the maintenance manager at Sidcot School, was also one of the protesters on Waterloo Bridge.
He said: “We are in the middle of climate crisis.
“This might not affect me, but it will definitely affect my children and I can't imagine what sort of world any grandchildren will have.
“I believe if the majority of the population really understood what a crisis this is, they would also get involved.”