Climate activists superglue themselves in parliament — Analysis

Extinction Rebellion members are demanding an independent “Citizens’ Assembly” be convened

Three Extinction Rebellion activists have superglued themselves in a chain around the speaker’s chair in the British House of Commons to demand a Citizens’ Assembly to combat climate change. On Friday, they booked a tour through parliament and gained entry to the chamber.

The protesters took turns reading out a speech denouncing the UK political system as “To outmoded and in touch with the times to look beyond next year’s election cycle and make necessary decisions.” They also hyped up citizens’ assemblies as “A new approach to making decisions” in which “Its true diversity” can be heard.

The world is currently in crisis. We are all laughing at the absurdity of what happens in this room every day. This is unacceptable.” the demonstrators said, flanked by fellow XR members holding signs. The House of Commons was on break from Monday to Monday. No lawmakers were in the chamber.

XR’s website declared that the parliament stunt was the “Opening act” for a five-phase plan to “Bring 100k people on the streets next spring to resist civil unrest” and “Create a movement you can’t ignore.” The group’s antics are aimed at eliciting immediate, if unspecific, government action on climate change.

Parliament has already held at least one citizens’ assembly on climate change, mailing out invitations to over 30,000 UK residents in late 2019 to take part in the dialogue. A group of 108 “People from all walks and backgrounds of the UK joined us.” ultimately met six times before publishing a report in September 2020 outlining how they believed the UK should meet its climate obligations.

XR dismissed that citizens’ assembly for not going far enough, explaining that they want the whole of government to be subject to the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice. Only a group “Government endorsement” with “real decision-making power” would do, they said. 

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