Extinction Rebellion Arrest

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Police and protestors settle down for a night on the streets

With a heavy heart I have just been arrested for the first time in my life as part of the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations taking place in London. Over many years I have written letters, marched, emailed and met my MP regarding my concern about climate change. I have abided by the rules to no avail.

The Red Brigade reach out for climate justice

There has been no action by government. Yes, parliament declared a climate emergency – but these were empty words. Heathrow is being expanded, fracking continues, coal mines are to be reopened. No action and time is running out to limit the already inevitable chaos caused by climate change.

Being arrested wasn’t a decision taken lightly. I have been a law abiding citizen and worked alongside the police during my career developing community services (volunteer bureau, community family centre, parent support).

My family and I have been in critical situations and the police have come to the rescue and I am forever indebted to them. I know they are overstretched with immediate issues of knife crime, drugs etc to deal with (though note there were enough police for peaceful protestors but not enough for knife crime!).

Yet I still decided to take arrestable action as we are facing immense suffering and irreversible effects of climate chaos. It is criminal for the government not to be acting on all the scientific facts and to continue with their destructive policies.

Road signs warn of disruption

Almost on a daily basis there is mention of a catastrophe caused by climate change and warnings by the water board that within 25 years we won’t have enough water in the UK reservoirs. Before our homes are flooded we are likely to experience food shortages leading to civil disruption and the list goes on.

Yes, I sat in the road, took a cell for the night and my arresting officer could have been on his patch and yes, I would like him, his child and family to have the best possible future. There was mutual respect between us, he told me that I was the nicest person (arrestee no doubt!) he had met in his 10 year career. In the police van with me everyone was respectful of each other and we had a young woman three months pregnant who kept throwing up – no doubt she was concerned for her unborn child.

I also acknowledge that as a middle class white person I was privileged to have this respectful relationship – had I been from an ethnic minority almost certainly this would not have been the case. In fact, one of our group witnessed a group of men from an ethnic minority who had nothing to do with XR being singled out for “stop and search”. There are many complaints being made regarding aggressive policing over the fortnight – I was one of the lucky ones.

I have been exhausted and felt very emotional during the experience and just hope my arrest makes a difference – that the government will act now for all of our sakes and the future of life on earth.

Image Credits: Seana Lanigan .

20 COMMENTS

  1. No sympathy for you at all!
    Whilst I appreciate your concern for the environment there are better ways of doing things than messing up the normal working persons’ lives!

    [Note: this comment has been edited to meet our guidelines]

    • Eric, I’d be interested to know what these ‘better ways’ are, and what success you’ve achieved by using them yourself?

  2. As I get out my long sleeved shirts and prepare for the Ice Age that Climatologists promised us in the 70s, I am increasingly bemused by the selfish antics of the XR cult.

    Warmly dressed, they arriving by car, bus and train. To save emissions how many walked? They cause havoc, piles of litter, huge clean up costs and costs to the community, business and individuals.

    People who want to destroy democracy and take society back to the Stone Age lead them. As so often the useful idiots of the spoiled and well heeled assist the very ones who despise them. The supporters of XR are not rebels or martyrs they are privileged virtue signallers who prefer to wreck others’ lives rather than setting an example by abandoning the comforts of their own homes and moving to a carbon (which means no fire) free cave.

    The winners from all this are those who are destroying nature with inefficient wind turbines built at enormous, concrete, steel and glass fibre, damaging cost to the environment. They wail about everyone having electric vehicles without regard to the environmental damage of un-recyclable batteries – or more importantly, the effect of electric force fields on public health.

    There are sensible ways in which we can recycle, produce energy from waste and use natural products (e.g – for clothing rather than plastic). Sensibly we should look at overpopulation and the factory farming that (tastelessly) sustains it. Human life is about progress and to try and stop that is to deny humanity. Progress demands innovative solutions. Pol Pot Mk2 is not the answer.

  3. During the early days of the XR orchestrated disruption I felt that what they were doing was a force for good, although I wondered for how long it would be tolerated by the general public. As time passed I began to question their ever more extreme behaviour and also the motivation of a proportion, maybe just a minority, of the protesters. The abysmal, moronic performance of XR spokespeople on various media outlets as they unsuccessfully tried to defend their actions confirmed that despite the original aims of the movement, it is little more than a disparate group of rabble rousers. The inarticulate spokesperson who feebly claimed that the idiots at Canning Town underground station were not protesting in an approved manner failed totally to understand that the public don’t differentiate and it was the organisers responsibility to ensure the protests went according to plan (whatever that plan might have been).

    I would be the last person to criticise sincere protesters who puts themselves at risk of arrest for a cause they believe in, I’ve faced that risk myself. But XR has failed to accept that there are other points of view on climate change and to allow for a reasoned discussion of those views.

    In the minds of many, these protesters are no different from the scum that closed various airports by flying drones into airspace, and they would be right. In both cases the lives of ordinary people have been seriously compromised by the actions of a selfish minority. This is no way to deal with the risks we face. We should bear in mind that the planet will survive until the end of time. Humans do not have that luxury and are not here for that long. All we can do is to extend that time for as long as is reasonably possible, without destroying the environment. We won’t do that just because a minority of us choose to cause massive inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of others, whilst failing to allow for other points of view.

  4. That is fine Eric I am not after the sympathy vote – just for the government to ACT NOW before time runs out.
    Bearing in mind what I have already tried to no avail and that we need big immediate action by government – please advise me what I should be doing considering the urgency.
    The inconvenience caused in London is a drop in the ocean compared to what is to come – to limit the chaos we need to ACT NOW. For example daily we get reports of climate disaster in other countries…..our food suppliers. We get over 50% of our food from overseas which won’t be coming our way as climate change increases. imagine how our lives will be messed up when there are food shortages… riots, social collapse and real suffering.

  5. Dear Jane, I have great sympathy for you and I applaud you for the action you took. I wasn’t brave enough to get arrested at the Arms Trade fair in early September (see my article in Rye News) but I did go, and I supported those who did get arrested, and I was extremely moved by the action that was taken by all the Faith Groups, to oppose this dreadful Arms Trade. Martin Wimbush

  6. I realize that you want change…but the ends justify the means is a very slippery slope.
    The big wheels are in motion…whatever happens it is to late for what’s going to happen…but if we get some sanity we can mitigate what might happen in the next century. This is a global population problem.

  7. Good on you, Jane Munro! My employees were disrupted in there work. It cost my company money and effected our service to our clients, but we all could see need and the bigger picture.

  8. One must agree it is too late to what will happen in years to come, maybe the powers to be could stop all the exporting of our old diesel machinery, to 3rd world countries,we are not helping them,but more like encouraging them to continue to pollute the planet.

  9. Jane I think your actions were heroic and I wish I could have been at your side. It’s lovely to see someone acting with care and conviction and I wish more people, especially those in Government, would do the same and take bold action to try to prevent further climate change.

  10. Jane very good article and interesting comments.you all who were there have my respect at the same time I think now that awareness has been raised it is time to push Rother and local council to follow through with policies and for us to make sure we are part of it NOW.

  11. Morals, like the climate, appear to have changed over the years. It didn’t seem long ago that being arrested and having your name in the media brought shame upon your family, yet Mrs Munro perversely writes about her arrest as though it is some sort of badge of honour !!

    Extinction Rebellion have cost the British taxpayer and Met Police force £37 million so far this year. No wonder Rye has a substandard Police presence when the Police budget is stretched to its limits.

  12. Interesting thoughtful article. I disagree with one point: ‘almost certainly’ you would of been dealt with differently had you been from an ‘ethnic minority’ not all police officers are racist …

    • Not all officers are racist and I expect the majority aren’t, but the institution of the Met Police does have racist tendencies, as is widely reported on by the people who suffer as a result. I personally say three Asian passers-by stopped and search while I was a Legal Observer at an XR event. The police told them “you clearly aren’t part of the protest, so you raised our suspicions.” But I saw plenty of white people who clearly weren’t part of the protest and had just come to have a look – none of them were stopped and searched.

  13. Jane and all your friends who took part in this protest will you be sitting at the entrance of tilling green estates on the 9th November trying to prevent the bonfire society marching through the town with there lighted torches 100s of them then going on to light an enormous bonfire on the salts followed on by a fireworks display no I don’t think you will.i wonder how much pollution enters the sky with 1000s of bonfires society lighting bonfires every year.??

  14. I have read and re-read Jane Munro’s story that Rye News have kindly published for you.
    Whilst I have a measure of sympathy for your cause I dislike the patronizing and supercilious fear mongering.

    Being arrested yada yada yada. Well don’t get arrested then and save police resources. Do you think you are the only people working alongside the police? Nope, most of the citizens of the UK do this without thinking and without trumpeting their ‘virtue’ though note there were enough police for peaceful protestors. Of course, there was. They bussed in hundreds of officers from outside of London. So not only did you cause great expenses fiscally it was expense too for the areas that were denuded of police whilst they rode shotgun on the clowns provided by extinction rebellion.
    Given that you and your ilk are convinced we are facing immense suffering then I suggest instead of littering up our cities and causing mayhem in the UK you lot get yourselves across to China and India. They are pretty good at producing colossal amounts of noxious gases. However, be warned they are also pretty good at handling idiot climate change protestors (they call it industrial sabotage) Aaah but I guess you would know that. Good old UK is a far safer place to ‘play up’.

    Incidentally I don’t get ‘we will in 25 years be running out of water, simultaneously whilst getting flooded’?

    It is unforgivable that your type should frighten children with ‘your future is being stolen and the end of the world is nigh’ Utterly, utterly disgraceful to use gullible children for misbegotten and ill-informed political ends.

    In future I would suggest as a ‘middle class white person’ you do something useful with your worrisome life.
    As for being exhausted and very emotional? Welcome to the real world where such feelings form the daily bread of most of the population.

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to meet our guidelines]

  15. Just a brief response to your article Clifford.
    Firstly I can see that aspects of my article could be irritating – especially the bit about working with police during my time as a community worker. I agree my exhaustion and emotion was nothing compared to so many people struggling to get by on a daily basis.
    The running out of water in our reservoirs in 25 years time was a warning directly from the water board earlier this year. The nature of climate change is extreme weather – so both flooding and drought.
    As for telling the truth about climate change – no apologies there. Young people are already concerned about climate change and how this will affect their future. They are already taking to the streets with their school strikes. Many nature programmes on TV now talk about the devastating effect of climate change. Earlier this year David Attenborough was on television saying all the things I was writing about. Climate change is what the majority of scientists are talking about and urging us to take action now – this is not a personal opinion it’s science.
    Far kinder to tell the truth and ACT now to limit the effects of climate change – so young people have a better future. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending it isn’t happening is the cruellest outcome for children.

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