Extinction Rebellion to protest in Sheffield on Saturday despite lockdown

Extinction Rebellion will protest in Sheffield on Saturday despite large gatherings still being banned under current UK law.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:19 pm
Updated Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:24 pm

The environmental pressure group’s Sheffield branch will stand in silence for 15 minutes from 12pm on the steps of the City Hall and draw attention to their demands for a “greener, fairer future” post-lockdown by holding up placards advocating a more environmentally sustainable society. A spokesperson insisted social distancing will be in place throughout.

They said: “This period, as we emerge from lockdown, will be a defining moment for the planet and the world we will move into.

“We have a choice between addressing the climate crisis and inequality or going back to business as usual.”

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Extinction Rebellion protestors in Barkers Pool before lockdown drawing attention to climate change.

Crosses for people to stand on will be chalked out at a two-metre distance. Protestors have also been encouraged to avoid using public transport to attend, and even those from the same households have been told to stand apart. Stewards will also help assist social distancing.

A briefing document read: “Please note this is not a gathering, just a number of people who feel moved to make a solo protest, and happen to find themselves briefly in the same place at the same time.”

The event is part of a series of co-ordinated ‘solo protests’ nationwide this weekend. A spokesperson for the Sheffield group admitted it could be “extremely damaging” for their image if they were to be portrayed as breaking social distance guidelines in any way.

On the protests, Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for environment, streetscene and climate change at Sheffield City Council, said: “Do I think it’s wise in the current climate? I’m not sure people would necessarily agree with it.

“I think the people of Sheffield will see through it.”

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 currently prohibits large gatherings of people to limit the spread of Covid-19.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson added: “We are aware of a potential gathering in Sheffield and we are closely monitoring plans ahead of it.”