In pictures: Extinction Rebellion climate campaigners halt traffic with Dalston swarm, Shoreditch ride-out and London Fields skeleton march
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Extinction Rebellion campaigners called for immediate action on climate change as they carried out a series of attention-grabbing stunts at the weekend, including intermittently stopping the traffic in Dalston on Saturday.
While protesters and dancers stopped traffic for seven-minute intervals outside Dalston Junction station in the morning - much to the dismay of plenty of drivers - hundreds of cyclists rode en masse from Old Street roundabout waving XR flags to the cheers of passers-by in the afternoon, headed to London Fields.
They were joined by others who marched solemnly from Hackney Downs to the beat of a jazz band in a New Orleans-style funerary procession, hoisting paper-maché skeletons and a coffin labeled "Our Future".
The events had kicked off on Friday with a march on Hackney Town Hall called 'The Air We Grieve, where children led an assembly attended by the Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville to discuss solutions to the "climate emergency".
Hackney Council and the police had told XR organisers to "scale down" the large-scale festival they had planned for London Fields, warning them it would be illegal and unsafe. They agreed not to install a music stage or camp overnight, and to focus on "education and sharing ideas" through two-days of talks, workshops and poetry and music performances.
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The group wants to make sure concrete changes to avert a climate catastrophe are made, after the UK parliament, the London Assembly and Hackney Council all declared a climate emergency this year, and want other east London councils to follow suit.
Campaigners from Divest Hackney, Plastic Free Hackney and Greenpeace took to a platform where performers from the Ezra Collective and the Turbans joined up for a one-off show. There was also free vegan food, a "boycott fashion" photo booth, a kids clothes swap stall and guerrilla gardening. Two People's Assemblies outside Hackney Town Hall invited east Londoners to discuss their concerns about the climate crisis in small groups.
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Monika Nielsen from XR Hackney said: "We're really happy with the turnout at all the workshops and talks throughout the weekend - it just goes to show how many people really are concerned about their futures and want to use this as a chance to connect and get involved."
Philly Banister, who is not part of XR added: "It's nice to come to something with different demographics with old and young people all playing together. It makes you feel hopeful about the future - that if we can just ride round on our bikes and make music together, there actually wouldn't be any problems."
The weekend was the biggest "uprising" of the eco movement - set up with the bold aim of "avert[ing] human extinction and ecological collapse" - since its two-week central London action at Easter.