Monday 7th of October saw environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion begin Rebellion Week 2 – a series of blockades and demonstrations in cities around the world, including in Dublin. The group’s aims are to draw attention to the climate and ecological emergencies the planet is facing, and to spur governments into action to tackle the crisis. Founded in 2018, the movement gained notoriety in April when they shut down key bridges and junctions in London for over a week; an action which saw over one thousand people arrested. The Irish branch of XR has three demands of the government: to tell the truth about the extent of the issue facing us, to act like it’s an emergency and to ensure a just transition to zero-carbon economy. Their hope is to disrupt “business as usual” to force the government to meet their demands.
The first day of Rebellion Week saw a number of actions take place in Dublin. A black coffin adorned with pictures of the Earth was carried from Heuston Station to government buildings on Kildare Street, with the procession blocking traffic as they went. They brought with them a letter to be delivered to government ministers, one signed by over 200 Irish academics calling for greater action on climate change and environmental issues more generally. A pink sailboat was marched up Kildare Street and is now parked at Merrion Square, where activists have set up their blockade and base for the week. Around 30 tents have been pitched in the Square, with a music stage, food stalls, information stand, and kids’ tent being set up in the area as the group’s base. In the evening, protestors blocked traffic at Connolly Station in rush hour and proceeding to march down through the IFSC, urging employees of the companies there to join them at Merrion Square.
While their methods have made them unpopular in certain circles, the group claims that the traditional methods of protesting, signing petitions and lobbying TDs hasn’t worked in the past and more drastic action is needed to tackle the various problems we face. They invite everyone to take part in the week’s events and stress that they are a non-violent, family-friendly movement which is inclusive of all people. The week will finish with a multi-faith vigil on Sunday to remember the victims of climate change.
Photo taken by Matthew Mollahan during Dublin protest.
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