Extinction Rebellion cancels London protest over coronavirus

Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion has cancelled its next London protest due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, also known as XR, had scheduled a mass protest in London on 23 May to call for action on tackling the climate crisis.

The planned date of the protest, which coincides with the start of the UK bank holiday weekend and the FA Cup final, was expected to cause major disruption.

But Extinction Rebellion last night confirmed it would not proceed with the mass gathering owing to concerns about the Covid-19 outbreak.

The organisers said in a statement: “Mass public gatherings will not be organised by Extinction Rebellion if it is not safe to do so.

“As such we can no longer make a commitment to the date of 23 May for in-person rebellion in London based on Covid-19.”

The group suggested they would instead be making “alternative, creative plans for May and June.”

While Extinction Rebellion vowed to return to London, it has no date in mind yet. The group added:

“We ask rebels to continue mobilising, to be ready for when the time is right,” the group added, saying it was committed to pressuring the government into “responding adequately to the ongoing climate and ecological emergency”.

The group added:

As the pandemic passes, nothing will feel the same and we need to be ready, we are already in a state of planetary crisis, and we do not have to return to business as usual.

Extinction Rebellion will continue to organise with, and support, our local communities and each other throughout this time of national and international emergency.

The UK coronavirus crisis experienced its highest daily jump so far today to hit 798 cases.

Meanwhile, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg today encouraged her supporters to take part in a so-called digital strike.

The 17-year-old Swede is encouraging young people to post pictures of themselves holding climate strike signs on social media.

Thunberg said in a tweet: “In a crisis we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society.”