Bristol’s Extinction Rebellion activists target Brazil in London protest

Scores of Bristol activists are up in the capital

ByTristan CorkSenior Reporter

Scores of climate change activists from Bristol are among thousands of people currently taking part in a mass Extinction Rebellion protest in London city centre.

Police have made more than 200 arrests across the capital this week already – as of Wednesday at 6pm – as the first few days of a fortnight of disruption and protest stunts take place in the heart of central London.

Activists from Bristol have been among those who have set up a giant pink table in Covent Garden, occupied Oxford Circus, targeted a McDonald’s restaurant and blocked roads around Soho, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.

One main focus of the Bristol activists has been targeting the Department for International Trade and the Brazilian Embassy, to protest about the negotiations for a free trade deal which XR protesters say is contributing to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The Bristol activists from Money Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, presented a mock ‘Charred Earth Award’ to the DIT in Whitehall, a year after it was presented to the World Bank.

Money Rebellion researcher Hilary Saunders, from Southville in Bristol, said that in May 2021 the lower house of the Brazilian National Congress passed a bill to allow mining, agribusiness and infrastructure projects to go ahead on Indigenous and protected lands. “This could be a death sentence for the Amazon and many of the Indigenous people who live there,” she said. “Two recent large-scale studies 4 5 have found that the Amazon rainforest is now so damaged that it is emitting more CO2 and other greenhouse gases than it can store. This is a catastrophe for all of us, because it is rapidly accelerating climate change.

“So when President Bolsonaro promises to end illegal logging, does he mean that he will stop deforestation or does he mean that he will make it legal?” she added.

Ms Saunders and other campaigners are calling on Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, to ask this question of Bolsonaro because his allies now control both houses of Congress and some environmentally devastating bills are being proposed.

“They claim that by treating Brazil as a friendly future trading partner the DIT is effectively condoning rampant deforestation, human rights abuses against Indigenous people and a climate catastrophe which could have horrific consequences for everyone across the planet,” she added.

Extinction Rebellion is now a global climate change protest movement but began as an organisation in Bristol and Stroud in Gloucestershire, with its roots in the long-running protests against the Metrobus work that destroyed allotments and green fields next to the M32 in Stapleton in Bristol.

Earlier yesterday, Money Rebellion campaigners from Bristol joined other groups outside the Brazilian Embassy in solidarity with the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) for the protection of indigenous peoples’ constitutional rights. Ms Saunders said this was to protest the Brazilian Government’s ignoring of the rights of Indigenous people and effectively promoting criminal activities by making land-grabbing legal in the Amazon rainforest.

By Bristol Post
(Image: Getty Images)