Extinction Rebellion protesters turn out in numbers for Sheffield protest

‘Rebels’ from Extinction Rebellion were out in force in Sheffield on Saturday for a socially distanced protest demanding a “greener, fairer future” post-lockdown.

Saturday, 30th May 2020, 3:02 pm

At 12pm around 50 members of the environmental pressure group stood in silence on the steps of City Hall at a distance of three metres apart and held placards advocating a more environmentally sustainable society.

Steph Howlett, who helped organise the event, said it passed peacefully with three police officers watching on.

She said: “It went really well. The police were very amiable and there was no trouble.

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“Everyone arrived separately and some of us chalked out markers on the steps that were three metres apart, even further than the Government guidelines. We were really, really careful to maintain social distancing.”

The event was part of a series of co-ordinated ‘solo protests’ across the UK this weekend, with people encouraged to take part at home if they did not want to gather in public.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 currently prohibits large gatherings of people to limit the spread of Covid-19 and Extinction Rebellion claimed on social media some of their “rebels” had been arrested and fined for “socially distanced civil disobedience” in Parliament Square.

On the reason for the protests, Steph said lockdown measures have demonstrated ‘what can be done’ by industries and authorities to achieve change that helps the environment, citing Sheffield City Council’s decision to close busy roads to encourage active travel.

Members of Extinction Rebellion Sheffield took part in solo protests outside City Hall, holding placards expressing their demands and visions for after the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Chris Etchells

“We don’t want it to go back,” she said

“Wouldn’t it be nice if that wasn’t temporary and they kept it.”

Organisers said the event passed peacefully.
'Rebels' stood three meters apart from each other throughout.