Climate activists invade British parliament
Three Extinction Rebellion activists have superglued themselves in a chain around the speaker’s chair in the British House of Commons to demand a Citizens’ Assembly to combat climate change. They accessed the chamber by booking a regular tour of parliament on Friday.
The protesters took turns reading out a speech denouncing the UK political system as “too out of date and out of touch to see beyond the next election cycle and do what needs to be done.” They also hyped up citizens’ assemblies as “a new way of making decisions” in which “the true diversity of the country” can be heard.
“We are in crisis. And what goes on in this chamber every day makes a joke out of us all. We cannot afford to carry on like this,” the demonstrators said, flanked by fellow XR members holding signs. The House of Commons is on break until Monday, and no lawmakers were present in the chamber.
XR’s website declared that the parliament stunt was the “opening act” for a five-phase plan to “bring 100k people onto the streets in civil resistance next spring” and “build a movement that is impossible to ignore.” The group’s antics are aimed at eliciting immediate, if unspecific, government action on climate change.
Parliament has already held at least one citizens’ assembly on climate change, mailing out invitations to over 30,000 UK residents in late 2019 to take part in the dialogue. A group of 108 “people from across the UK and from all walks of life” ultimately met six times before publishing a report in September 2020 outlining how they believed the UK should meet its climate obligations.
XR dismissed that citizens’ assembly for not going far enough, explaining that they want the whole of government to be subject to the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice. Only a group “endorsed by government” with “real decision-making power” would do, they said.