Hundreds of banners and metres of fabric used for Extinction Rebellion protests

A total of 100 banners, 300 metres of fabric and more than 20 litres of paint are being used in the two weeks of protests across the capital by environmental action group Extinction Rebellion.

The group is in the midst of staging a fortnight of protests to demonstrate against the world’s ongoing use of fossil fuels, which are driving climate change.

As part of the campaigning, Extinction Rebellion uses elaborate costumes, props, art displays (dubbed “art actions” by the group), banners and flags when parading through different cities.

A member for the group, known only as Bridget, is the UK arts factory co-ordinator and said creating the artwork for the protest begins weeks, sometimes months, in advance.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Design packs are sent to the protesters so they can all design costumes for a ‘unified’ look (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “To make the banners and flags, we do 16-hour days, with no breaks, for about a month.

“We try to resource as many materials as we can. Our printer ink is the most environmentally-friendly printer ink you can get on the planet. We do a lot of research. We get donations and t-shirts from merch companies with their dead stock and charities.

“Everything is upcycled as much as we can. We bought 20 litres of paint and the rest was freecycled, and we have about 300 metres of fabric for banners.

“With the art actions, it depends. For the rebel trail, which was an HS2 action, it took three weeks to make.”

Extinction Rebellion protests
More than 20 litres of paint are being used by the group for the two weeks of protests in London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The more elaborate costumes, such as the red rebels, are created by art co-ordinators across the country.

They design a costume, which is easy for others to make, and then create a design pack which is sent out to other members of the group across the country to create a “unified” look.

In London, dozens of fashion students at universities and colleges also help create the more elaborate designs.

Bridget said: “In the art factories, we create the banners, flags and t-shirts. I run workshops too.

“We have decentralised, across the UK and nations, and even globally. We provide advice on how to make everything. We then help other movements, so we’ve been working with Black Lives Matter and showing them how to make banners, how to make flags.

“There’s a community aspect to it. It’s all about everybody being able to do everything. We are all crew.”

Extinction Rebellion protests
The more elaborate costumes, such as the red rebels, are created by art co-ordinators across the country (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The group has around 100 people across the country who make banners and flags but it also has volunteer puppet-makers, sculptors, 3D designers, musicians and architects, which brings the total up to around 2,000 volunteers who solely work on the artwork.

Speaking about the London protests, Bridget said: “Our main principle is to promote autonomy and decentralise the movement. Because we’ve had so much help from the regions, [the artwork for the London protests] has been really, really successful and the quality of the making is superb.

“The whole point of this is to reach out to the general public and talk to them about what is going on with the planet. In the next few days, there’s going to be lots more theatrical and beautiful things to see.”