Activists, artists, campaigners and scientists are among those gathering in London this weekend (21-23 April) for three days of peaceful protest and talks asking for an end to the fossil fuel era.
Organic farmer Guy Singh-Watson, conservationist Chris Packham and biologist Dave Goulson are among hundreds of speakers set to talk to crowds across the capital for the event, run by climate activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) with partners including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and War on Want.
Dubbed ‘The Big One’, the event marks the first major climate protest by XR this year and since it launched a new strategy based around inclusivity and cooperation, rather than disruption. The protests have been organised with the knowledge of the police who have closed roads and will be monitoring the event alongside Sunday’s London Marathon.
But in a press conference this week, the group said it will ‘unquit’ its strategy of no disruption if the government fails to meet two demands within a week – stop the search for new fossil fuels immediately, via emergency citizens’ assemblies to let people decide how to end the fossil fuel era quickly and fairly.
“Four months ago, Extinction Rebellion announced ‘we quit’ and entered into a period of alliance-building with other movements and groups by temporarily stepping back from our tactics of civil disobedience,” said Rob Callender of Extinction Rebellion.
“Since then, the government has made policy announcements that effectively double down on deadly climate chaos. This is their last chance to show us that they are serious about saving our lives and our futures by agreeing to enter negotiations around our demands.
“A failure to do so will mean that Extinction Rebellion has no choice but to unquit – and to step up our campaign to force the government to take the drastic and radical actions necessary to avoid runaway climate change. This time, we’re not alone – allies from this 200-strong bloc will be stepping up alongside us.”
Partners and supporters of The Big One include high profile NGOs, green companies including Patagonia and Ecotricity and campaign groups ranging from the NHS to animal rights.
A wide-ranging programme for the weekend includes a Biodiversity March leaving from Victoria Street, Westminster, on Saturday, alongside smaller events at hubs focused on education, health, faith and more.
The march will kick off at 1pm with speeches from Chris Packham, Dave Goulson, Jyoti Fernandes of the Land Workers’ Alliance and Delia Mattis of Black Lives Matter.
On Friday, a range of People’s Pickets will take place at government departments across the city, followed by speakers at the main stage on Abingdon Street. Sunday’s activity will include making 20,000 paper boats to be sent to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, with opportunities to connect with those running the London Marathon on causes amplified by the climate crisis.
More on the programme can be found here.