Sadiq Khan concerned Extinction Rebellion is 'driving people away' from cause

1 September 2021, 12:31

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Sadiq Khan has said Extinction Rebellion's tactics could be "inadvertently driving people away" from the climate change cause.

Speaking to LBC the Mayor of London said while there is a serious climate emergency he was concerned protests by Extinction Rebellion could "discourage" people from joining his campaign to ensure COP26 is a success.

Mr Khan said some of the tactics used by the climate change group lead to demonstrations that are "unlawful, not peaceful and not safe."

When LBC's Julie Etchingham asked if he thought "XR are now damaging the cause" of climate change the Mayor replied he was.

"That's a concern that I've got," the Mayor replied as he urged those protesting to consider how their actions might be perceived by others.

"Just think carefully about how you are protesting, are you supporting the cause, are you encouraging more people to understand why we've got to take action on the climate emergency.

"Or are you inadvertently driving people away."

The Mayor's comments come after the climate change group blocked two London bridges as part of a second week of planned demonstrations in the capital.

Read more: Over 300 arrests made in first week of Extinction Rebellion protests

Mr Khan said that "some of the tactics being used by XR are counterproductive," he said.

Even though he passionately believed in the cause of climate change and the right to protest, he wanted demonstrators to think before they act.

"Just think carefully about your tactics and your strategy," the Mayor urged.

The protests last week led to more than 300 arrests as Extinction Rebellion demonstrated across the capital in what they call the "Impossible Rebellion".

Activists blocked a road in central London with a large pink table, spray painted the exterior of the HM Revenue and Customs building, and daubed the Guildhall in the City of London in red paint.

On Bank Holiday Monday, Tower Bridge was blocked with a van and a caravan, with 11 arrests made at that protest.

Some 34 protesters had also been arrested the previous day for occupying the Science Museum and gluing themselves to the building in protest against its partnership with oil giant Shell.

In total, 469 have been made as of 6.45pm on 31 August.

It comes as the group is demanding the government stops investment in fossil fuels.

However, Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, have also been taking action, including dyeing the Buckingham Palace fountains red in protest of animal hunting.

Animal Rebellion's latest move has been the blockading of one of the largest dairy factories in the UK.

Meanwhile, Extinction Rebellion is due to continue its action for a second week.