Writers speak in solidarity with imprisoned climate activists

More than 100 high profile writers have signed a letter in solidarity with those arrested for protesting against inaction on the climate crisis.  

The letter was co-ordinated by Writers Rebel – a faction of notorious environmental group Extinction Rebellion – to oppose the imprisonment of over 100 climate protestors in 2022.  

Some notable signatories include composer and record producer Brian Eno, women’s rights activist Helen Pankhurst, author and poet Lemn Sisay, and award-winning actress Dame Emma Thompson.  

Helen Pankhurst said: ‘At Bow Street Magistrate Courts in 1908 my great grandmother Emmeline Pankhurst defended the Suffragettes’ actions by saying: “We are here, not because we are law-breakers; We are here in our efforts to become law-makers.” The same applies to the actions of climate activists today.  

people on road

‘They have my support both because the barriers to protest that they are increasingly facing demonstrates the dangers to democracy when protest is silenced and because climate change is an existential threat that those with power must do more to confront.’ 

Climate protesters have faced increased policing since the passing of the controversial Public Order Bill in October, which expanded stop-and-search powers and made it a statutory offence to be a public nuisance.  

Additions to the bill are currently being considered by MPs, as some wish to restrict protests, such as those by campaign group Just Stop Oil, which block roads and traffic.  

‘We are writing in solidarity with all those in the UK who have recently been imprisoned for taking part in nonviolent protests,’ the letter reads. ‘Right now, many people who are deeply concerned about the climate and environment are turning to civil disobedience.  

‘While it is understandable that the state wishes to limit the disruption this may cause, it is vital that the right to protest is protected. Protest plays an essential part in our society in raising public awareness and enabling change.’  

The letter also includes the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who said: ‘Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.’  

Writer, AL Kennedy, said: ‘That the UK now has political prisoners, incarcerated for defending sustainable life on Earth is yet another national disgrace.’  

She added: ‘In the chaos and ruin the pseudo-Conservative regime has created in the UK, we have seen many treasures and values dear to most Brits destroyed. Our NHS, our beaches and rivers, our inner cities and national monuments, our arts, our transport and education systems and so much more are all on the brink of collapse. While Brits maintain their empathy and humanity, they struggle against a government with neither.’  

Photo by Markus Spiske


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