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Welsh Extinction Rebellion activists take coal protest to the streets of London

24 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Image: Jessie Law

Activists from Extinction Rebellion Cymru have taken part in a coal demonstration against the UK Government just days after some of its members were found guilty over another protest.

Seven Extinction Rebellion activists were recently found guilty of aggravated trespass and were collectively fined over £5,500 for a protest which saw around 60 people occupy Aberpergwm coal mine near Glynneath, Neath Port Talbot.

Five of the seven found guilty for aggravated trespass on Thursday attended Monday’s protest in London dressed as ‘prisoners’.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion Cymru wore rat masks – Image Denise Laura Baker


Some protesters wore rat masks and a coffin draped with a Welsh flag was carried through London by activists wearing hazmat suits.

The demonstration forms part of the four-day environmental protests in London referred to by the group as ‘The Big One’.

Activists from Just Stop Oil, Fuel Poverty Action, Stop Rosebank and Fossil Free London, also attended as part of a collective demand to end to new fossil fuel projects.

During the protest there were speeches in English and Welsh and Welsh attendees sang ‘Yma o Hyd’.

Extinction Rebellion Cymru’s focus on coal follows its ongoing campaign against the Aberpergwm and Ffos-y-Fran coal mines in south Wales.

A bag of coal was poured onto a a coffin draped with a Welsh flag – Image Denise Laura Baker

Mass picket

Extinction Rebellion have heavily criticised both the Welsh Government and Westminster and Monday’s protest against the UK Government follows previous similar demonstrations at the Senedd in Cardiff.

Sahrah Wilding, 56, a farmer from Aberystwyth who spoke at the protest in London said: “I was arrested at the Aberpergwm Mine protest in July and last Thursday I was found guilty of aggravated trespass because the judge said there was no imminent threat to life from the mine.

“But thousands of people are dying every day in this climate emergency. If the extension to the mine is not revoked, everything that the whole population of Wales is doing to reduce carbon emissions for 10 years would be cancelled out by this one mine. We need a just transition to green jobs for the workers, not more death and destruction.”

The groups plan to carry out a mass picket surrounding the UK Parliament in Westminster later today.

Five of the seven protesters found guilty for aggravated trespass attended dressed as ‘prisoners’ – Image Denise Laura Baker


Pam Williams, 74, a retired organic farmer from Powys said: “Even though I and the other Aberpergwm coal activists were found guilty, it was still a further opportunity to draw attention to what’s happening!

“The future of Ffos-Y-Fran coal mine might be influenced by the court’s inability to factor in the climate impacts of mining in the Aberpergwm case.

“Regardless of whether the coal is burned or not, coal extraction is hugely damaging due to the methane emissions it causes.

“I hope the Welsh and UK Government’s failings on Aberpergwm might inspire Merthyr Council to do better when they make the planning decision on Ffos-Y-Fran this week.”

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