‘Rebel’ climate activists are set to bring one of Sheffield’s busiest roads to a standstill at rush hour tomorrow.
Extinction Rebellion say they have been “left with no choice” but to block four lanes of traffic on Sheaf Street, next to Sheffield Hallam University’s main campus.
The activists say they will place themselves on the tarmac for periodic intervals from 8am, delaying buses, as well as University staff and students on the key commuter route.
“We apologise for the inconvenience to drivers, but this is nothing compared to the climate catastrophe that is our current future,” the group said.
“Simultaneously, we will talk to drivers and passersby to bring attention to the causes and consequences of climate crisis.”
‘Climate emergency’ hypocrisy?
Sheffield train station, the focus of tomorrow’s orchestrated chaos, was recently found to be among the top ten most polluted spots outside of London for toxic nitrogen dioxide gas levels.
Campaigners say the city’s “toxic air pollution” will only worsen under the City Council’s policy to widen Sheffield’s notoriously congested ring road.
It comes just weeks after the council declared a ‘climate emergency’ and pledged to move towards fully renewable energy supplies.
It is the latest call for action to address climate change from increasingly radicalised green campaigners, after thousands took to Sheffield’s streets on Saturday for a global ‘climate strike’.
Calling on the government and local authorities to address the challenges posed by climate change with more serious policies, 15,000 students also walked out of schools and lecture halls last month.
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Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid said he would “have a word” with any teachers condemning students for putting the planet above lessons through striking, despite continued warnings from head teachers.
The response from British universities, many of which had students take part, has been more muted.
Following the funeral
The action tomorrow follows the same tactic late last year when Extinction Rebellion wreaked havoc in the capital as protestors sat down and halted motorists on seven London bridges.
Dozens were arrested for the blockage, dubbed one of the largest acts of civil disobedience that the country has seen in decades.
— Olive E. Lineham (@OliveLineham) March 15, 2019
There were more sombre scenes last term when Extinction Rebellion Sheffield, who are leading tomorrow’s orchestrated chaos, paraded a mock coffin around the city in a funeral for the planet.
Ahead of the road blockage, Dr Bing Jones, one of group’s organisers, said: “The young have taken the trouble to leave school and break the rules to point out that their parent’s generation is spending their birthright just to remain comfortable.
“We need to block the traffic to raise awareness and force government to act. We only have a few years and must act now.”