Climate change protesters block traffic junctions and promise more direct action
Extinction Rebellion plans ‘arrestable events’ and more roadblocks during week-long campaign
Extinction Rebellion Ireland is planning a series of unannounced “direct actions” aimed at disrupting day-to-day life this week.
The first such action, a so-called “swarm” protest made its way from College Green to O’Connell Bridge, stopping on several occasions to block traffic for seven-minute periods at key junctions in the city.
Protestors said Monday’s protest was planned as an outreach-style event, with limited disruption for ordinary people. “There’s going to be other actions taking place which are going to be a lot more direct than what we’re doing today,” said Rónán Ó Dálaigh (28) from Clondalkin. “Today we want to engage people and let them know about it,” he said.
An internal planning document, seen by The Irish Times, states that the group is planning “arrestable events” and roadblocks in Dublin as part of its week-long campaign to raise awareness about climate change.
“In London, over 1,000 people were arrested and this was part of what drew so much attention to their rebellion. If the courts keep hearing the same message from us, that message will get through and more people will demand the urgent and radical action that is required,” the document states.
The document also states that roadblocks will take place. “This is a fundamental part of our plan, in Dublin and around the world. Our aim is to cause disruption, which will lead to media coverage, highlighting the ecological emergency that the world faces and putting pressure on the government to act”
“Blocking roads also disrupts business as usual, which is what is killing our planet; a fact we all must face”. While the Extinction Rebellion Ireland movement has no set leadership, so called “affiliated groups” are encouraged to plan and carry out wildcat actions. Mr Ó Dálaigh said that each protester had determined their own willingness to be arrested, using a scale from 1-5.
“An arrestable action is something where there’s a very strong chance you can get arrested. What we might do after this is, people who are interested might come along and block the road and say “we’re not going to move after seven minutes”,” he said.
Ciara, from Galway, who declined to give her second name, said direct action was needed. “It’s not just marching, because that doesn’t seem to be doing anything. It’s causing a bit of disruption to the general public, even though it is really annoying to the general public, it’s better than the alternative of climate catastrophe.”