A demonstrator wears a costume as people protest during the Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One'
A demonstrator wears a costume as people protest during the Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One' Copyright REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Copyright REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Copyright REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

In pictures: Thousands of people descend on London for Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One'

By Euronews Green
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XR and 200 other organisations including Greenpeace are demanding an end to the fossil fuel era.


Thousands of activists are preparing to flood London this weekend as Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One' kicks off. 

The four-day action is supported by more than 200 organisations including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the PCS Union.  Friday's day of events has been titled "Unite to Survive" with banners and flags expected to fill Westminster. 

Activists hold banners during the 'People's Picket' as they take part in the Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One' event.HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

The group says some 50,000 people will descend on London from today until Monday as part of the action to demand an end to fossil fuels. 

Around 40,000 to 50,000 people could gather outside parliament on Sunday 23 April - the day of the London Marathon. XR has promised to avoid disrupting the race. 

This is the first major event since XR announced that it would be abandoning disruptive tactics to "prioritise attendance over arrest" and "relationships over roadblocks". Rather than blocking roads, stewards have been asking people to crowd onto pavements.

People take part in the 'People's Picket' outside The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero's building, in London.HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

The 'People's Picket' gathers outside government buildings

More than 100 supporter organisations are leading the 'People's Picket' outside every government department in Westminster. 

"While we suffer the cost of living crisis, oil company shareholders rake in record profits. The people know it’s not a crisis, it’s a scandal," says XR spokesperson Rob Callender.  

"So we’re setting up People’s Pickets at these departments until they negotiate with us. And we’ll be back when the civil servants strike on the 28 April. And we’ll be back when the nurses strike on the 30 April. Because we’re all in this together."

Activists stand next to a banner as they take part in the Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One'.HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

"Tackling the climate crisis means creating a better, fairer, more caring society for everyone," Callender adds.

Writers and journalists including names like Zadie Smith and Rupert Read will be joining a picket at Tufton Street. 

"Writers Rebel is picketing Tufton Street, the home to a powerful group of think tanks including the main climate science denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is funded by fossil fuel companies and lobbies for fossil fuel interests," says writer and campaigner Natasha Walter. 

Gareth Morris/Extinction Rebellion
Activists gather outside of Tufton Street in London.Gareth Morris/Extinction Rebellion

What is Extinction Rebellion demanding from the UK government?

XR has called on the UK government to enter into negotiations with them before 5 pm on 24 April. They are demanding an end to all licenses, funding and approval for new oil and gas projects and the creation of "emergency citizens assemblies". 

One of their long-term goals is for the UK to legally commit to reaching net zero by 2025. If there is no response from the government by 10 am on 25 April, the group will build an "unprecedented coalition" and step up its campaigning in the coming weeks. 

Activists wearing green robes take part in the Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One' event.HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

"We’ve had enough. We’re here uniting to survive," says Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now! 

"This is the start of something big – a show of unity by groups representing millions that will grow into an unstoppable movement this year to give the government no choice but to end the lethal madness of Business As Usual."

A person holds a sign reading "S.S. Planet Titanic" outside parliament during the Extinction Rebellion's 'The Big One' event.HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Friday's rainy weather meant there was a relatively small crowd at the main stage to kick off the four days of protest. But numbers are likely to pick up as the weekend goes on. 

Tomorrow, more people are expected to flood into London to join a biodiversity march in collaboration with the organisers of Earth Day.

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