Extinction Rebellion leaders distance themselves from Tube protesters

A small group of climate change activists incurred the wrath of angry commuters after attempting to disrupt Tube services in London

Commuters remonstrate with Extinction Rebellion protesters (Photograph: @mahatir_pasha/ITV News/Twitter)
Commuters remonstrate with Extinction Rebellion protesters (Photograph: @mahatir_pasha/ITV News/Twitter)

Leaders of the climate change pressure group Extinction Rebellion have moved to distance themselves from protesters who incurred the anger of commuters by attempting to disrupt Tube services.

Members of the movement climbed on to trains at three stations in east London only for frustrated commuters to pull them from the roof of the train at Canning Town.

The action was criticised by commuters at the scene and by commentators who pointed out that the movement risked losing the goodwill of the public. 

A statement posted on the Extinction Rebellion website said "very few people" in the Extinction Rebellion movement had wanted these particular protests to happen.

"XR’s current organising ethos is that anyone can carry out any action in the name of XR, provided it doesn’t conflict with our 10 principles and values," the statement said.

"Following two similarly controversial proposals in April and over the summer, the process for ‘national’ actions has been revised such that proposals must pass through scrutiny from other teams before going ahead.

"But, as stated, the group involved in today’s action was operating at the grass-roots level; they received the feedback from the wider movement and made their own decision.

"In short: very few people in XR wanted this to happen, but the ‘post-consensus’ organisational model which we currently employ is such that it happened all the same."

The statement said the movement needed to take "serious time to learn from what went wrong". 

The latest wave of protests in the UK are due to come to an end this weekend. 

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