Most will be aware of Extinction Rebellion’s use of civil disobedience to disrupt ‘business as usual’ this month, as members seek to convince governments to act in the face of the climate crisis. As well as dreaming up ways to get themselves arrested – more than 1,700 arrests were made this month – the actions have also demonstrated the creativity of activists in finding imaginative ways to get their messages across: from kangaroo costumes and semaphore flag dance routines to Extinction Rebellion choirs. Here are six of the most theatrical moments of the October Rebellion:
This was a silent troupe of red-robed, white-faced, mythic living statues, founded by Invisible Circus’ Doug Francisco. “A beautiful, bloody mob of nightmarish bodies, pleading with us not to destroy ourselves.” Also highly photogenic – especially when juxtaposed with the police.
On the second Saturday in October, a powerful ‘Grief’ march of thousands of citizens filed through central London, grieving for extinction. It was all the more striking for the extraordinary array of puppets, especially of skeletons, on display – including giant human skulls and a life-sized walrus.
Vegetable-shaped hats off to this vegan ex-carpenter from Bristol whose arrest in a brilliantly realised broccoli costume went viral, landing him a slot on Good Morning Britain. Showing it’s possible to engage with this heavy subject with levity and playfulness, he was also at pains to direct people towards scientific experts for the facts, reiterating that he was merely a humble broccoli.
The Trafalgar Square roundabout was successfully blocked on Monday, October 7, when a hearse stopped in the middle of the road and activists locked themselves both inside and outside the vehicle. The sign on the hearse read: ‘Our Future’.
Stars including Juliet Stevenson, Ruby Wax and Mark Rylance were in attendance at the Trafalgar Square site, with Benedict Cumberbatch staying overnight by the hearse where hundreds of XR grandparents posed with their grandchildren. These included Michael Frayn, who was introduced to Extinction Rebellion by his grandson Jack Harries, a YouTuber and environmental activist.
A giant sculpture, or puppet, of a pink octopus was kettled by the police and put under a section 14 (or should that be a section 8). Understandably, social media had a field day, with jokes about the long arms of the law.