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‘We’re the emergency services’. Why the disruption caused by the Climate Change protests was justified

28 Apr 2019 4 minute read
A pregnant mother carefully arrested

Vicky Moller

Welsh stars shone brightly in the mini-nation that sprung up in rebel-occupied London last weekend.

Some set off weeks earlier to walk their way, distributing leaflets as they went.  Myfanwy from Ceredigion who walked 140 miles to get there.

“We met so much warmth and support, I wondered, where were the opponents?” she said.

“Everyone seems to get it, it was like I was doing it for them.”

The walkers were given food and a roof as they walked from town to town, ranging from a cats home to a mansion.

The wellbeing hub had a particularly strong contingent from Wales, its white arched span had generous space for healing.

A pregnant scientist from Swansea made a final stand, she was last to be arrested at Oxford Circus, while diminutive Anna from Eglwswrw was among those held the longest in custody.

She had locked onto the iconic pink sailing boat of truth. She had to be angle cut out so traffic could return after a week of upbeat occupation.

Jamie from Newport found his experience in Tsunami hit Indonesia and Africa come in useful installing the basics – the showers and toilets – while his sister Soo from Cilgwyn was the food miracle worker, setting up kitchens in Oxford Circus and Marble Arch which literally fed the five thousand for nothing but donations.

Those fed were not just rebels but the young and the homeless who got wind of the transformation to their streets. The No Alcohol or Drugs policy, and teams of rebel cleaners meant the four centres of London were safer and cleaner than usual.

The police had to do something to restore normality and arrested around 1000 people, the most ever arrested in an operation.

But despite the crackdown, the rebels stayed calm, and they even calmed and comforted those troubled souls who arrived to vent their issues. Police chiefs were challenged by a situation outside their experience while some constables found it the most enjoyable work they had done.

Individual police shared their support for the cause. An interviewing sergeant turned off the recorder at the end and told his arrestee he was on his side.

Some arresting officers confided to their captive that they wished the Rebels were in charge of police operations as they seemed so much better organised.

The protesters for their part told tales of the care and consideration given by the police.

Protestors collecting rubbish as they go


The purpose of the protest was stark and clear: Climate change is a threat to our survival and to survival of life on earth.

The first call of the action was to Tell the Truth: This is a crisis and it must be recognised so it can be acted upon.

The second demand is the consequence of the first, to take appropriate action and stop emissions by 2025.

And the final demand was to do this by the will of the people by setting up Citizens Assemblies to agree the way forward.

Can anyone find anything they disagree with there?

While there was obvious disruption to people’s lives the rebels’ defence was that this was nothing compared to the disruption to be caused by climate change.

This temporary occupation was to give people a pause in their routine to face important issues.

‘What about emergency services?’ some countered. They answered that they always made way for emergency services, while others pointed out that the rebels are the emergency services tackling the biggest emergency of all time.

The question is ”What next’?

This will be decided by the rebels’ unique mass democracy system for making decisions by hundreds, sometimes a thousand people.

Perhaps our politicians could sit down on the ground with the Citizens’ Assemblies and experience how to get agreements and make detailed plans without conflict, time-wasting or domination by the few.

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