Extinction Rebellion blockade Amazon depots in Black Friday protests

26 November 2021, 06:26 | Updated: 26 November 2021, 10:23

By Daisy Stephens

Extinction Rebellion activists have blocked access to several Amazon fulfilment centres to protest the company on Black Friday.

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Demonstrators are blocking the entrances to a number of warehouses including in Tilbury, Newcastle, Dartford, Milton Keynes, Darlington and Dunfermline.

In Coventry, 22-year-old student Nathan McGovern told LBC they were there to demand Amazon "confront their crimes" against the environment.

"We are blocking the lorries, the distribution lorries, from entering and exiting this facility," he said.

"We are demanding that Amazon confront their crimes against the planet and just stop with their destructive business model that's introducing infinite growth on a finite planet."

He said Amazon produced the same amount of CO2 as a mid-sized country, and claimed their emissions increase by between 15 and 19 per cent each year.

"They need to address the amount of pollution they are causing to the Earth's atmosphere as well as exploiting workers and the climate," he said.

He explained why Black Friday was chosen, saying: "Today is one of Amazon's busiest days of the year, it's a day where they're projected to make millions of pounds, much of that going to their largest shareholder Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men on the planet."

In Manchester, tailbacks formed as a result of the protests.

The protest came to an end just after 10am, with four arrests made.

The aftermath of Manchester's protest
The aftermath of Manchester's protest. Picture: LBC

XR South East tweeted: "#ExtinctionRebellion blockade #AMAZON fulfilment centres across the UK and Europe on #BlackFriday."

The group added: "#Amazon exploits #PeopleAndPlanet."

The protests are taking place on Black Friday
The protests are taking place on Black Friday. Picture: XR

Around 20 protesters are blocking the UK's largest Amazon warehouse in Dunfermline, Fife.

Activists with "lock-ons" and placards arrived at 4am and have been stopping lorries from entering or leaving the site.

Spokesperson Meg Paton-Jones said they were not preventing night shift employees from leaving.

Lorries are being turned away from the depot.

Essex Police is dealing with a protest outside another site in Tilbury.

They said in a tweet that disruption would continue into the morning rush hours.

Protesters are blocking entrances using bamboo structures and lock-on devices.

They have banners reading "black Friday exploits people and planet" and "infinite growth, finite planet".

The protesters say they plan on remaining there for 48 hours.

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The group say they are targeting Amazon because it "exemplifies" how the current economic system exploits both the planet and its staff.

Police are in attendance at a number of the protests
Police are in attendance at a number of the protests. Picture: XR

Chris, a former Amazon employee, said taking action against the company was an "absolute necessity".

"We can no longer live under a system based on manipulated overconsumption coupled with continued, destructive economic growth at the cost of people and planet," he said.

"Amazon’s entire business model is based on growth. As it’s empire grows, so does its emissions, yet workers live fear of organising against this.

"The union busting tactics of Amazon need to come to an end and it’s time the workers of Amazon were given a proper voice in how their company is run."

An Amazon spokesperson said: "These groups represent a variety of interests, and while we are not perfect in any area, if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing in each one of these areas you’ll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously.

"We are inventing and investing significantly in all these areas, playing a significant role in addressing climate change with the Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, continuing to offer competitive wages and great benefits, and inventing new ways to keep our employees safe and healthy in our operations network, to name just a few."