Christian minister among climate change activists arrested during Extinction Rebellion in London
The Rev Sue Parfitt being led away by officers at Oxford Circus during the Exctinction Rebellion protests in London last month.
A Christian minister was among the climate change activists arrested at Oxford Circus during the Extinction Rebellion protests that brought parts of London to a halt last month. All using peaceful, non-violent, direct action to focus attention on the climate change chaos unfolding throughout the world and the need for urgent action.
The Rev Sue Parfitt, 77, was arrested alongside other campaigners staging a protest at the busy intersection in the heart of the capital's shopping district.
She said she was prepared to be arrested if it brought the issue of climate change to the attention of those in power.
"It has been such a sweltering hot day today. We have all been sharing sun cream and water but I would really rather be at home in the shade."
Rev Parfitt was among several people who had, earlier in the week, used metal chains to lock themselves underneath a lorry by Marble Arch.
"The only reason I'm here is because this is an emergency and we must take action now, That's why I'm prepared to be arrested. If it makes people in power pay attention and it ends the suffering of climate breakdown it will be worthwhile." she said.
Rev Parfitt was at Oxford Circus as part of the Christian Climate Action group (CCA) who joined in the Extinction Rebellion across central London last month.
Members of CCA also spent Maundy Thursday washing the feet of members of the public and fellow protesters as part of the traditional Maundy Thursday ritual commemorating Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper.
The foot washing was headed up by Rev Helen Burnett, an Anglican curate from London.
She said: "Part of what Extinction Rebellion believes is that the climate catastrophe that we face is both spiritual and ecological, and that to reverse the effects of climate change we are called to fundamentally change the structures of the systems under which we live."
Members of Christian Climate Action wash the feet of fellow protesters in London on Maundy Thursday
Rachie Ross, a mother-of-three from London, was among the CCA members doing the footwashing.
"The foot washing was a sacred space to engage, refresh and serve fellow rebels," she said.
"It really opened up conversations and stories about why we are all here, stories of fear and courage and deep compassion for humanity. It was a very special time, kneeling to serve on Maundy Thursday."
Marble Arch, Parliament Square, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge were all occupied by protesters at various stages throughout the 10 days, which culminated in a closing ceremony at Hyde Park's speakers corner.
"We will leave the physical locations but a space for truth-telling has been opened up in the world," they said in a statement.
"We know we have disrupted your lives. We do not do this lightly. We only do this because this is an emergency."
In a letter to MPs Extinction Rebellion Youth said: "We are asking you to hear the science, to feel the public's change of heart and to act now to save our futures"
The Metropolitan Police said over 1000 people had been arrested during the protests, officers Easter weekend holidays were cancelled during what organisers described as the largest civil disobedience event in recent British history.
Campaigners have issued three core demands to the government: to "tell the truth about climate change"; to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025; and to create a citizens' assembly to oversee progress.
Due especially to the Extinction Rebels and school strikers, climate change is finally at the top of the political agenda, and we have a unique opportunity to transform this country for good, with a vote in parliament shortly on whether to declare a national climate emergency. The first of Extinction Rebellion's list of 3 demands to tell the truth.
Bristol City Council became the first UK council, on 13th November 2018, to declare a climate emergency for the city. The motion was passed unanimously. Consequently, the city council set an ambitious goal of making Bristol carbon neutral by 2030.
More actions are expected from Extinction Rebellion in the future.
, Christian Climate Action
, Civil Disobedience
, Climate Change
, Climate Emergency
, Extinction Rebellion
, Rev Helen Burnett
, Rev Sue Parfitt