At least 102 climate activists from seventeen countries representing Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion and other climate justice groups are still being detained in Geneva, Switzerland 20 hours after a peaceful protest against Europe’s largest annual private jet fair, the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva.
“A unique, European coalition of courageous activists from 17 countries severely disrupted the excessive champagne party of a super-rich elite – Europe’s largest private jet sales event. Their demand is unequivocal, private aviation should be consigned to the history books. We support the activists and demand their immediate release.” – said Klara Maria Schenk, a transport expert for the European Mobility For All campaign.
Activists peacefully occupied jets exhibited at the business event by the Geneva airport and chained themselves to aircraft gangways in order to keep prospective buyers from entering. The protestors held giant tobacco-style health warning label hand banners marking the jets as toxic objects and warning that ‘Private Jets Burn Our Future’, ‘Kill Our Planet’, and ‘Fuel Inequality’. Public service announcements from loudspeakers carried by the activists exposed the devastating consequences of private jets for our planet and revealed the hypocrisy of promoting private jets amidst rising social inequality.
Contrary to several misleading media reports, the activists never entered the taxiways or runways of the airport. The activists make it clear that at no time they intended to disrupt commercial air traffic at Geneva Airport. A spokeswoman for air traffic control agency Skyguide confirmed protestors had not accessed the runway during the incident, according to Aviation International News.
Climate scientists have blocked private jet terminals around the world today in protest of ‘luxury emissions’.
London Luton Airport, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and Bromma Airport in Stockholm are among those being disrupted by activists from Scientist Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Stay Grounded.
It follows actions against private jets in Brussels and Seville yesterday, and one in Los Angeles on 11 February, with more protests expected in the coming months.
“It is time to ban private jets and tax frequent flyers to the ground”, says NASA climate scientist Dr Peter Kalmus from Scientist Rebellion.
“We cannot allow the rich to sacrifice our present and future in the pursuit of their luxury lifestyles.”
Extinction Rebellion UK dropped a large banner from Westminster Bridge in London that reads ‘APRIL 21: UNITE TO SURVIVE’. A group had marched with flags from Jubilee Gardens along Belvedere Road where they stood in single file off the road, forming a chain across the length of the bridge. When there, an important message was passed along a human chain from one side of the bridge to the other, symbolising connection across divides.
The action officially launches Extinction Rebellion’s ‘100 Days’ campaign – the biggest mobilisation campaign XR has ever undertaken. With it, a new Crowdfunder is set in motion with a £1million target by 21st April, 2023, when 100k are expected to stand together outside the Houses of Parliament.
Today marks the 100 day countdown to ‘The Big One’ on 21st April and is encouraging millions of conversations with friends, family, colleagues and strangers, as well as organisations across and beyond the environmental space, to bring 100k people to Westminster. With Extinction Rebellion’s official ‘ticker’ count revealed to show over 7,000 people ready to be there, this powerful targeted campaign aims to reach new audiences with an accessible, inclusive and easy-to-understand invitation to bring the remaining count into active resistance.
Anna Hyde of Extinction Rebellion UK, said: “The climate, ecological and biodiversity emergencies are not distant threats – they are happening right now, unevenly affecting many – ultimately affecting everyone, and life on Earth is at stake. Covered up by corrupt media, those in power continue to profit from the crises unravelling around us. The fossil fuel era must end, and restoration of the world must begin. This is where solidarity comes in.”
Following Extinction Rebellion’s New Year statement stating that we will “disrupt the abuse of power and imbalance” by targeting the true perpetrators, all signs at this chaotic time in history point toward cooperation between groups and movements taking our love and rage to the seat of power in Westminster. Horrified by the climate disasters unfolding around us, thousands in the UK are ready and waiting to do the work the government is unwilling to do.
Dr. Caroline Vincent of Scientists for XR, said: “Disruptive protest has done so much to change the conversation around the climate and ecological emergency over the last 4 years; more and more people are waking up to realities of the climate crisis, and more and more are saying they want immediate and decisive action.
“The reality is however, that as the general public becomes more concerned, the government in the UK backtracks on its already meagre climate promises, sanctioning a new coal mine in Cumbria at the end of 2022. So, the government isn’t listening and the only way that changes is by all of these newly concerned people recognising their own power and stepping into active resistance. At the same time, the Government is clamping down on the right to protest and criminalising those raising the alarm. In the current circumstances it’s clear that only larger numbers of people taking peaceful action together over prolonged periods will prove impossible to ignore.”
UK Extinction Rebellion has announced as a New Year’s Resolution a change of tactics. The focus has shifted to disrupting government instead of engaging in disruptive protest. Part of XR’s move is promoting their ‘The Big One’ campaign starting 21 April 2023.
As we ring in the new year, we make a controversial resolution to temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic. We recognise and celebrate the power of disruption to raise the alarm and believe that constantly evolving tactics is a necessary approach. What’s needed now most is to disrupt the abuse of power and imbalance, to bring about a transition to a fair society that works together to end the fossil fuel era. Our politicians, addicted to greed and bloated on profits won’t do it without pressure.
We must be radical in our response to this crisis and determined in our efforts to address the climate and ecological emergency, even if it means taking a different approach than before. In a time when speaking out and taking action are criminalised, building collective power, strengthening in number and thriving through bridge-building is a radical act.
XR is committed to including everyone in this work and leaving no one behind, because everyone has a role to play. This year, we prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks, as we stand together and become impossible to ignore.
From 11am on Monday November 21st, Extinction Rebellion and other aligned groups took nonviolent action at thirteen sites across central London, targeting the offices of companies and organisations which have links to the fossil fuel industry. The groups sent a universal message that it’s time to ‘cut the ties’ with fossil fuels.
Actions took place at BP, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, BAE Systems, Church House, Ineos, Eversheds Sutherland, Schlumberger, the International Maritime Organisation, the Institute of Economic Affairs, JP Morgan, Arch Insurance, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The actions follow the conclusion of COP27 in Egypt, which was widely criticised for the heavy presence of representatives of oil and gas companies. Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of the companies targeted today, has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.
Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Sarah Hart, said: “Behind incomprehensible government decisions to double down on fossil fuel development, sign off new oil exploration licenses and allow the big energy companies to rake in record profits, lies a network of companies and organisations that are profiting from this destructive path.
“While the rest of us worry about the cost of turning the heating on our government is prioritising the profits of the very companies that are jeopardising our climate and environment. But everyday people are way ahead of politicians. They want to be able to heat their homes and they want a future for their children.
“So today, Extinction Rebellion are sending the message that it’s time to cut the ties with fossil fuels or lose the social license to operate in the UK.”
DETAILS OF THE ACTIONS:
XR Cymru at Hill+Knowlton Strategies offices, Clerkenwell Green
XR Cymru splattered fake oil over the offices of public relations consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Hill+Knowlton has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.
Writers Rebel at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Lord North Street
Writers Rebel poured fake oil on the front steps of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. The institute, located just meters from the Houses of Parliament, has received money from fossil fuel companies, regularly publishes materials questioning the consensus on climate science and has huge influence on politicians.
Doctors for XR at JP Morgan, Victoria Embankment
Doctors for XR glued themselves to the windows at the London HQ of JP Morgan and pasted images to the front facade of the building depicting scenes of climate breakdown both here in the UK and overseas. JP Morgan are the world’s biggest fossil fuel financiers.
Christian Climate Action at BAE Systems offices, Carlton Gardens
Christian Climate Action left handprints of fake blood and oil on the offices of Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems. BAE Systems supply weaponry to conflicts which increase the vulnerability of people living on the front lines of climate change. The arms giant also provides military and technical support to Saudia Arabia, enabling the regime’s oil production.
Christian Climate Action at Church House, Great Smith Street
Christian Climate Action also took action outside Church House in Westminster to highlight the Church of England’s failing strategy to stay invested in fossil fuels and influence the industry as shareholders.
A spokesperson for Christian Climate Action, said: “The Church should be showing moral leadership in rejecting profiting from investments in companies that continue to fuel climate suffering.”
Plastics Rebellion at Ineos offices, Hans Crescent
Plastics Rebellion sprayed fake oil outside the offices of Ineos, one of the world’s largest petrochemical producers and a significant player in the oil and gas market. Many of the plastics produced in the UK start their life at the INEOS Grangemouth refinery.
HS2 Rebellion at Eversheds Sutherland, Wood Street
HS2 Rebellion sprayed the offices of multinational law firm Eversheds Sutherland with fake oil. As solicitors for HS2 and Esso, Eversheds Sutherland have been forerunners in criminalising nonviolent environmental protest through the use of injunctions.
XR East of England and XR Youth at Schlumberger offices in London, Buckingham Gate
XR East of England and XR Youth poured fake oil over a globe at the offices of the world’s largest oilfields services provider Schlumberger to expose their complicity in ecocide. As the world’s largest oilfield services provider, Schlumberger enable fossil fuel extraction, operating in 120 countries around the world, with over 36,000 patents dedicated to extracting every last drop of oil and gas from the ground.
Ocean Rebellion at the International Maritime Organisation, Albert Embankment
Ocean Rebellion held protests outside the offices of the International Maritime Organisation where performances illustrated the UN shipping body’s refusal to regulate shipping emissions. A heavy plume of smog filled the air and an oil slick appeared on the ground with dead birds caught in it.
Money Rebellion at Arch Insurance, Great Tower Street
Money Rebellion poured fake oil at the offices of Arch Insurance. Arch Insurance are understood to be in negotiations with fossil fuel giant Total regarding the insurance of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a project that will jeopardise important ecosystems, fuel climate change and pose significant risks to millions of people. Money Rebellion is there to say ‘Arch must rule out EACOP’.
Sky Rebellion at Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Portman Square
Sky Rebellion poured fake oil in front of the London offices of Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. The Canadian based pension fund invests in infrastructure projects including the controversial expansion of Bristol Airport which it owns.
XR South East at BP HQ, St James’ Square
XR South East used fire extinguishers to spray fake on oil BP headquarters in central London.
A spokesperson for XR South East, said: “The addiction to fossil fuels must end. The huge fossil fuel corporations like BP and those who aid and abet them KNOW what we face. BP hides the dirty secrets that lie behind its latest big profit of £7,100,000,000. Enough is enough. Today we are exposing the ties between the collaborators and we will piece together the web of lies with our actions.”
XR South West at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Victoria Street
XR South West sprayed fake oil on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to protest against its plans to issue more than 100 new licences for exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea – meaning renewed and accelerating extraction way beyond 2030 and way beyond the UK’s Paris Agreement commitments.
XR Rhythms (marching between the locations listed above)
In June, London endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, so XR Rhythms is marching through London to highlight the web of fossil fuel enablers still working in our city. We want to drum out fossil fuel investments and celebrate the future transition to a more sustainable economy!
[from an Extinction Rebellion press release.]