Busloads of grinning supporters of Extinction Rebellion arrive in London today for the start of ‘The Big One’ – the group’s four days of protests in the capital.
Members have begun setting up pickets outside government offices, with the eco-demonstrators planning to attack 15 departments between Friday and Monday, pledging to “unite for survival.”
50,000 supporters pour into London from across the UK this morning, but it remains a mystery as to what direct action XR plans to take. Many are sharing smiling selfies on social media – others are out on the street wearing gas masks, carrying signs and playing XR drums.
But leadership has pledged not to disrupt Sunday’s London Marathon amid rumors Just Stop Oil and other splinter groups could target the world’s largest running event.
XR is organizing a four-day protest outside Parliament Square from Friday but is in talks with the marathon race director to ensure minimal disruption.
A spokesman for the group said: “We expect there will be around 40,000 to 50,000 people outside parliament this weekend.”
A group of XR supporters are bussed into London for ‘The Big One’ – 50,000 are expected to be in the city for four days of action
Groups from Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol and other cities and towns are on their way to London today
Extinction Rebellion protesters take part in a protest outside the Department for Transport in London
People take part in the “People’s Picket” as Extinction Rebellion activists demonstrate at ‘The Big One’ event outside Parliament
XR outside the Department of Energy Security and the Net Zero building this morning
XR demonstrators outside the DCMS building in central London as four days of protests begin
London Marathon director Hugh Brasher previously said his talks with Extinction Rebellion had led to an agreement that ‘they will uniquely ask all of their participants to help monitor the London Marathon’.
He said, ‘I trust Extinction Rebellion, they’ve been very clear about what they’re doing and why. I hope Just Stop Oil and the other organizations listen to what we say.’
The spokeswoman for the environmental group said that while the stewards will protect runners from the protest, “the whole thing has been taken somewhat out of context.”
“We have been working closely with the London Marathon since last year so that our protest can co-exist with the marathon,” she said.
“We met with them a few days ago and said we were going to protect people from the protest, and I think the media took that to mean we’re going to protect the race from other groups protesting.
“We actually meant that we have stewards who will help keep the area safe.”
She added that all organizations that have signed up to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest have assured that they will not disrupt the marathon.
Just Stop Oil confirmed it was also in talks with the marathon director, and activist Anna Holland told GB News: ‘I’m just saying now, we’re not going to disrupt the marathon.
“We also encourage everyone who comes to the marathon to run for the climate, because that’s so important.”
The eco-mob itself is planning a large protest in the center of the capital from Friday to Monday, with organizers fearing as many as 30,000 supporters could be near Westminster for the ‘final stretch’ of the marathon on Sunday.
XR’s program for the protests initially stated that “the final stretch of the London Marathon” will intersect with the rally, “providing an opportunity to connect with and support those running the marathon for causes that are being strengthened.” by the climate crisis’.
But now Mr Brasher said the group is looking to ‘protect what is one of the crown jewels of British sport’.
Extinction Rebellion protesters take part in a protest outside Department for Transport
15 government departments will be targeted today
Extinction Rebellion has agreed to prevent protesters from disrupting the London Marathon after organizers struck a deal with the eco-fanatics to protect the race from their alliances at Just Stop Oil
The eco-mob is planning a massive protest in the capital from Friday to Monday, with organizers fearing as many as 30,000 supporters could be near Westminster for the ‘final stretch’ of the marathon on Sunday.
The event director told The protector on Wednesday: ‘They will be uniquely asking all of their participants to help monitor the TCS London Marathon. Doing something quite unique in their history: protecting what is one of the crown jewels of British sport.
“It is one of the crown jewels because the common man who competes and runs 26.2 miles at that time as Eilish McColgan, Sir Mo Farah, and when the greatest women’s race in the history of our sport takes place.
“The London Marathon is unique,” he added. “We run for clean air. That is so important in what we do. The environment is in our DNA. And Extinction Rebellion has made it very, very clear that they are in a new phase where they want to engage the general public in a different way.”
London Marathon organizers had urged spectators to watch the iconic race from home for fear of disruption.
Mr Brasher had advised people to ‘watch the marathon from other locations and avoid the Parliament Square area on that day’ as the square and ‘immediate area’ will be ‘very busy’.
It came as Secretary of Energy Grant Shapps condemned XR for risking “causing a massive disruption” to the marathon.
Just Stop Oil, which disrupted the World Snooker Championship on Monday, would not say whether it plans to target the race.
Mr Brasher admitted organizers feared other groups were looking to create similar disruptions to the Grand National and World Snooker Championship last week.
The unique arrangement came after event director Hugh Brasher (pictured) sat in a meeting with Extinction Rebellion on Wednesday, where the group was “very clear” that they wanted to “engage the general public in a different way.”
Mr Brasher admitted organizers feared other groups wanted to cause disruptions similar to those at last week’s Grand National and World Snooker Championship (pictured)
Militant animal rights activists Animal Rising stormed Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool after posing as race goers, delaying the race as they were tackled by officials and officers
Militant animal rights activists Animal Rising stormed Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool after posing as race goers, delaying the race as they were tackled by officials and officers.
And Just Stop Oil activists Edred Whittingham, 25, and his comrade Margaret Reid, 52, forced a World Cup snooker match at the Crucible to be canceled after he jumped onto a table and threw orange powder over it. She failed to pull off the same stunt after the referee stopped her.
Mr Brasher said he is looking to speak to Just Stop Oil, who intervened in last year’s race, in the next 24 hours to try ‘a race that raised £58.4 million last year for good aim’ not to stop.
He explained that he will be reaching out to the group after XR provides the contacts to talk to, adding that it is “working together again” and will be asking for help to protect the breed “because of the good it is doing to society” .
XR co-founder Clare Farrell insisted the group “has no intention of disrupting their event.”