Who are Extinction Rebellion and what do they want?

Extinction Rebellion protesters have disrupted London during a planned two-week protest with more than 1,600 people arrested so far.

Here are some key questions about the group and its demands.

What is Extinction Rebellion?

An international campaign founded in the UK which uses what it describes as “non-violent” civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and persuade governments to act on the climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Extinction Rebellion protesters bring Whitehall to a standstill (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Who makes up the Extinction Rebellion?

It is not one unified group. On its website, Extinction Rebellion says it organises in small groups focused on different strategies and actions.

Most members are volunteers but 3% receive expenses to help cover the cost of living.

As of April 2019, it had 650 groups in 45 countries.

How does Extinction Rebellion work?

There is no system where everyone votes on everything – each group follows a collective decision-making process.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Protesters glued themselves to each other during the Extinction Rebellion protest in Westminster (Yui Mok/PA)

When was it formed?

It started with about 12 people in the house of co-founder Gail Bradbrook in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 2018.

Large protests quickly spread across the UK and the movement went global within a year.

Who are its founders?

Molecular biologist Dr Bradbrook, organic farmer Roger Hallam and Simon Bramwell.

Hallam, 53, is facing trial next year after he allegedly attempted to cause disruption at Heathrow Airport by using a drone between August 1 and September 14.

Gail Bradbrook
Gail Bradbrook (Lewis Pennock/PA)

What do they want?

They aim to cause “major disruptions” to encourage governments across the world to do more to deal with climate change.

In the UK, they have three demands: 
– Declare a climate and ecological emergency
– Act to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
– Create and be led by the decisions of a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice

How is it funded?

The majority of money comes from crowdfunding as well as major donors, not-for-profit organisations and foundations.

English rock band Radiohead in June announced they would donate proceeds from the sale of previously unheard music which had been stolen by hackers.

Radiohead star Thom Yorke
Radiohead star Thom Yorke (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Is Extinction Rebellion aligned with a political party?

The website says it does not align with any group and welcomes people who vote for any political party.

What has Extinction Rebellion done so far in the UK?

Most recently, an activist was dragged to the ground from the top of a Tube train in east London.

The group has targeted London City Airport, shut down areas around Parliament and the Bank of England, blockaded Google’s HQ and used a 25ft purple boat to block one of the oldest streets in Glasgow.

Activists have doused themselves in fake blood, put tape over their mouths, dressed up as vegetables and trees, glued themselves to each other, the ground and trains, and mothers and babies have staged a mass feed-in.

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