May 1, 2021 1.06 pm This story is over 7 months old

Extinction Rebellion cause a stir in Lincoln with human road blocks

Blocking traffic as part of national protests

Two Extinction Rebellion activists blocked Silver Street and the Bailgate in Lincoln by sitting in the road in protest of a lack of government action against climate change.

Two local people stopped traffic by peacefully blocking the road at 11am on Saturday morning, but weren’t without their share of criticism.

Rebels were met with hostility from some walking by, and traffic was held up as a result of the protest, with one pedestrian appearing to threaten to shoot the protestor on Silver Street, and another apparently assaulting the one at the Bailgate.

Passers-by were making their feelings known. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

A man charged towards the protestor on the Bailgate while he was reading a speech, got in his face and shouted at him to move out the way, using strong language in the process, before picking the protestor up and dragging him off his stool and off the road.

They wore signs saying: “I am terrified my son will starve to death because of the climate crisis,” and “I am terrified that our children will have to fight for food and water due to the climate emergency,” during their protests.

The protests generated a lot of reaction from people on the High Street. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Protests lasted around 20 minutes before the Silver Street rebel was escorted away by city centre wardens, and the Bailgate protestor left of his own accord after giving a speech and being apparently assaulted by a member of the public. No police were in attendance at either Silver Street or the Bailgate.

Disgruntled drivers confronted the protestor before mounting the pavement to get past.

One eyewitness, Jack Connor, was stood in support of the protests and praised the “incredible courage” it took to do this.

He said: “It takes a lot of strength to go against the majority opinion, I think they’ve come here and changed discourse, they’ve shown remarkable courage.”

Cars were held up as protestors sat in the middle of the road. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

They join hundreds of sitters across the country who blocked roads to announce they will no longer stand by and let the government “lie to the public”.

The protest is devised so that activists can take part alone, but united.

It is part of an action devised by Extinction Rebellion during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for people to engage in civil disobedience alone, yet together.

City centre wardens were on hand to escort the activist away from Silver Street. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

One of the sitters was Eddie Francis, a 72-year-old retired joiner, and he said he was terrified to sit in the road, but more terrified about the future of the planet.

“As the planet heats up, water supplies will fail and so crops will start to fail. Famine and drought will spread across the globe. We will face disastrous food shortages. And my son, and your sons and daughters, will starve to death. That’s what terrifies me.”

This Extinction Rebellion activist stared face to face with the traffic as she sat in the road at Silver Street. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“Either through incompetence or criminal negligence, our government is condemning us, the people, to extinction. And the insane thing is that they know very well what they’re doing. This isn’t so much an extinction as an extermination,” he said.

A tense face-off at the Bailgate.

This action came just weeks after the second Kill The Bill protest in Lincoln, a demonstration opposing the planned Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, suffered a very low turnout, with just a handful showing up at Speakers’ Corner.

The rebel read out a speech calling for action in response to the climate emergency. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Watch The Lincolnite‘s coverage of the protest uphill at the Bailgate here. Please be mindful of strong language.

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