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US News Extinction Rebellion tube violence shows emotion among commuters runs high

16:05  17 october  2019
16:05  17 october  2019 Source:   qz.com

Extinction Rebellion begins week of action with march through Dublin

  Extinction Rebellion begins week of action with march through Dublin Extinction Rebellion begins week of action with march through DublinThe activists are preparing to set up camp in Merrion Square Park and plan various events for the week ahead.

a group of people in a room: Canning Town anger © Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. Canning Town anger

In more than a year of protest, city-centre shutdowns, and a policy of deliberately attempting to get arrested, some of the most violent moments of the Extinction Rebellion movement in London took place this morning when protesters clashed, not with police, but with commuters.

In videos posted online from Canning Town, a station on the Docklands Light Railway in east London, angry crowds waiting on the platform seethe, shout, and throw things at two protestors who have climbed on top of a train carriage. A man then jumps from the platform and drags one of the protestors to the ground:

Extinction Rebellion protesters moved by gardaí during sit-in outside Dáil

  Extinction Rebellion protesters moved by gardaí during sit-in outside Dáil The demonstration is part of a week-long protest by the group.A large number of gardaí arrived at the scene earlier this evening and directed protesters to leave the area, warning them that they faced arrest if they did not comply.

This moment has been coming. Extinction Rebellion, or XR as it is popularly known, has the stated aim of causing maximum impact through non-violent civil disobedience. Many of the actions in the latest wave of “rebellion”, which began on October 7th, have targeted government buildings like the Treasury, which was soaked in fake blood, media organizations, and roads. Last week protestors gathered at London City Airport, climbing onto the building and onto planes themselves, and blockading entrances and lounges.

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More on this story:

Extinction Rebellion activists bring protests to Penneys and Brown Thomas

  Extinction Rebellion activists bring protests to Penneys and Brown Thomas Extinction Rebellion activists bring protests to Penneys and Brown ThomasEXTINCTION REBELLION ACTIVISTS brought the protest to Penneys and Brown Thomas stores in Dublin, staging their own fashion show on O’Connell Street this afternoon.

Furious commuters drag Extinction Rebellion protester from top of Tube (Sky News)

Extinction Rebellion activist describes moment he was 'beaten by Tube mob' (Mirror)

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But so far, disruption to public transport has been minimal. The Tube network carries five million people per day around London, and the system is already stretched. Platforms are narrow and trains often arrive at popular stations so full that it’s impossible for more passengers to board. At rush hour, tensions already run high.

The fact is that, for a large proportion of Londoners, “the commute” is not just frustrating—it’s frightening. The fear may be low level, and often go unnoticed, especially when things run smoothly, but it’s there. The fear, for people in precarious or antagonistic work environments, is that they won’t get to work on time or at all, and be punished for it. They might lose earnings, or even lose their jobs.

Passengers grounded after Extinction Rebellion protester 'infiltrates' Dublin-bound London flight

  Passengers grounded after Extinction Rebellion protester 'infiltrates' Dublin-bound London flight The man – who said he was “extremely sorry” for inconveniencing passengers – was later restrained by police and removed.A DUBLIN-BOUND flight from London City Airport was grounded this morning after an Extinction Rebellion protester “infiltrated” the airplane.

Video: Angry Londoners pull climate protester from Tube train (Sky News)

Canning Town is in Newham, one of London’s poorest boroughs: It ranks in the bottom four of 32 boroughs by measures of poverty rate, child poverty, low pay, and homelessness, according to analysis by Trust for London, a charity that studies the city. It has the second-highest income inequality in the capital. Long-running debates in the UK focus on precarious contracts and zero-hours work: The fact that people in the lowest-paid jobs have the least protection from dismissal, and can be retained on contract by firms that can cut their paid hours to nothing, without warning. About a million people work mainly on zero-hours contracts, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, published in 2018.

Extinction Rebellion is a decentralized movement. Some organizers have stood by the decision to disrupt public transport, noting that the point of protest is to be as visible as possible, even if that risks unpopularity. Others have conceded that angering so many potential supporters is an “own goal,” sapping sympathy from a movement that relies on public engagement.

Extinction Rebellion Need To Stop Disrupting Commuters And Start Targeting The Real Enemy

  Extinction Rebellion Need To Stop Disrupting Commuters And Start Targeting The Real Enemy Seeing Extinction Rebellion protesters pulled from the roof of trains in Canning Town Station this morning is a horrific sight. It’s horrific because, despite their faults, I support Extinction Rebellion. For all the things they’ve got wrong, they have contributed, along with the school strikers, to an explosion in public climate concern, now running at the highest level since records began. I hope that we are at the very start of a massive change that they have helped catalyse. I don’t want to see their activists getting hurt. I also know that hundreds, if not thousands of XR activists tried to stop the tube actions from happening.

Related: Climate change protests around the world (Photos)

Much of the online discourse about climate protest insists that, at bottom, there is a class divide, with middle-class people having the “luxury” of being able to care about climate change while working class people cannot. This is an oversimplification. Some working class people will support the outcomes XR is fighting for. But our work—which, at base, is directly linked to our ability to survive and feed, house, and cloth our families—is a deeply emotional issue. Some commuters might oppose protesters on moral grounds. But much springs from the fear and consequent anger of people who can’t spend the day working from home, because they’re only paid if they’re in a specific place at a specific time.

In that respect, the anger seen at Canning Town is not an environment issue, nor is it a class issue. It’s an issue of the way we treat our workers. And of that, it’s an indictment.

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