Red Rebel activists were allowed to continue their 'walk of silence and peace' in central London on Tuesday, despite a blanket ban on the Extinction Rebellion protest issued late Monday.
On Tuesday the rebels convened in the churchyard of St John's before setting out, as police watched on closely. "The rebels have been permitted to continue their silent witness, as they are not wearing the XR badge, and their protest is a universal one," said one activist, who was staying in the crypt of St John's Waterloo.
It was the second time in 2019 that climate-change protestors had set up camp at St John's; they first flocked here for the demonstration in April.
On this sunny Tuesday, the crypt hummed with activity, as climate demonstrators from across the UK stepped across sleeping bags and bag-packs to find a corner in which to change into their scarlet robes. Around 35 protestors bedded down in the crypt throughout the 10-day street action.
“St John’s has become our sanctuary,” said Ruth from Stroud, as she applied the ghostly white face make-up designed to send the message that species are becoming extinct. “We feel safe here, and looked after. And we’re all incredibly grateful.”
“I’m a Buddhist,” said Luke, up from Brighton and settled in the crypt since Sunday. “But St John’s has reaffirmed my faith in our ability to cooperate on a human level, set aside differences and work together. I can feel the inclusiveness and passion in this place.”
At the crypt entrance, Geoff from Totnes sat with a notebook and waited for the Red Rebels to make their exit from the church gates.
“I've been handing out leaflets and explaining our demands,” he said. “We want citizens’ assemblies to help solve the climate crisis. And we want everyone to know about the '50-10-50 rule'. We have 50% chance of avoiding climate breakdown if in the next 10 years we cut fossil fuel use by 50%.
“St John’s has been fantastically generous to us. We’re not London people, so without this base we couldn’t possibly function.”
Canon Giles Goddard, vicar of St John's, said the church was thrilled to welcome the protestors back. “We’ve been campaigning on climate issues for years,” he said. “St John’s fully supports the visibility these protestors are giving to this urgent challenge.”
In November, St John's was thrilled to receive a beautiful, hand-drawn thank you card from the activists.
Ruth from Stroud before setting on on 'Silent Witness' walk
Geoff from Totnes
Rebels in front of St John's Waterloo
Luke from Brighton
IN OTHER NEWS: