Extinction Rebellion say being placed on 'extremist' list will not stop fight to save the planet
- XR believes government is trying to avoid being held to account in "much bigger crisis than World War 2"
- Climate change activists handed themselves in GMP as being part of 'terror' organisation
In fact, they have taken it as a sign that they are being taken seriously if the meeting in Eccles called Heading For Extinction (And What To Do About It) is anything to go by.
XR panellist Jim Cavet, a 50 year old blood doctor from Didsbury, spoke at the meeting, which was called to garner more interest from people in the Salford area in the protest movement.
He said: “I think it proves they are taking [Extinction Rebellion] seriously and the very change in police tactics between April and October is demonstration of how seriously it’s been taken.
“[B]ut the… criminalisation of being lumped in with violent extremist groups from extreme ideologies or extreme faiths that are basically trying to kill people.
“I hope that that is increasingly seen as counter-productive.
“By our very nature those are not the sort of actions that we’re doing.”
Dr Cavet was an activist in his student days, when he briefly campaigned against nuclear weapons, fox hunting and the poll tax, and when an Extinction Rebellion flyer posted through his door last year it caught his attention and proved to be an awakening for him.
As well as taking up cycling again recently, he said people have a moral obligation to future generations to do something now.
“I have a six year old and I want to spend time with her, but I also want her life and the lives of all the others that I see to be better,” he said.
“We have the right to protest, we have the right to act in self defence because we’re under threat personally from this even now and we have I think an obligation to look after the other species on the planet. This isn’t just about humans.”
The feeling was shared by his fellow host Fran McArthur, a business coach from Manchester, who admitted to feeling helpless before joining XR despite having changed her lifestyle by giving up flying and going vegan.
I spoke to Fran the following week, after Extinction Rebellion were included on a counter-terrorism police document distributed to medical staff and teachers to do with anti-extremism briefings.
She said: “It’s very difficult for the police to police a group who are peacefully breaking the law in order to highlight a moral wrong.
“The purpose of the Prevent programme is to stop terror attacks. Clearly, we are overtly peaceful. We reinforce that all the time.
“It’s an attempt I think to divert attention from the real problem that we have, the massive problem that we have of climate and ecological collapse and it’s diverting attention from the fact that our government is failing to protect us.”
Fran said she handed herself in to Greater Manchester Police last month with two fellow XR Manchester members to be interviewed
The situation was amicable and they were not detained. They were also informed that GMP does not consider XR to be a terrorist organisation
“It’s important that the public aren’t given the impression that we’re a terrorist organisation,” she said.