Extinction Rebellion protesters block roads in Leeds city centre and Headingley in protest against government 'inaction'

Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked two roads in Leeds today (Saturday) in protest against government 'inaction' over the climate emergency.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 1:36 pm
Updated Saturday, 1st May 2021, 1:46 pm
Extinction Rebellion protesters block roads in Leeds.

Two people sat peacefully in the road at around 11am wearing signs that read ‘I’m terrified for my daughter’s future because of the climate crisis’ and ‘I’m terrified for my children as we fail to tackle the climate crisis’.

One man sat on the pedestrian crossing in North Lane, Headingley, while a woman took her place in Call Lane in Leeds city centre.

Both stayed in the road for around 20 minutes before moving on after being spoken to by police.

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A man blocks traffic in North Lane, Headingley.

The protests were met with a mixed reaction, with some congratulating them, while others shouted abuse.

Hundreds of others took similar action - called Rebellion of One - across the UK to mark two years since parliament declared a climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion say the Government has not done enough to tackle the problem in that time, and highlight that billions have been spent on new roads and that huge sums of Covid recovery money have been granted to carbon intensive industries, including airlines, car manufacturers and oil and gas companies.

Extinction Rebellion Leeds also highlighted the decision by Leeds City Council to grant planning permission for the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport, which is currently on hold while Communities secretary Robert Jenrick considers whether to 'call in' the application.

A woman sits in the road in Call Lane, Leeds.

They said in a statement: "The people taking action today hope to make it clear that they can no longer trust the UK Government and Leeds City Council with their future."

The woman who sat in call Lane, the mother of a young daughter, said: "I am sitting here today to bring awareness to the terrible predicament into which we are sleepwalking.

"We can no longer afford to think that the climate crisis is not happening or does not concern us.

"We are witnessing the loss of habitat, the extinction of species, death and health problems due to air pollution and so much more.

"It is my responsibility as a citizen and as a parent to speak out and urge local and national government to keep their promises and make the right decisions."

Extinction Rebellion are planning more protests in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit, which the UK is hosting in Glasgow in November.

The man protesting in Headingley, the father of adult daughters, said: "I have been aware of the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss since I was a teenager.

"Conventional politics does not seem willing or able to act to address these issues.

"I also live in hope that a sufficient mass of people around the world will mobilise to force peaceful and cooperative change in time, but this will need to come from a far more just and cooperative way of doing things.

"I hope that some of you who witness my action will take time to reflect on my choice and possibly yours going forward."

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