Extinction Rebellion’s actions are ‘juvenile’, says Bristol Mayor

‘If you want to talk, just come and talk to me. You don’t have to do something so dramatic’

The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, has criticised the actions of the XR rebels on the roof of City Hall calling their argument “juvenile” and demonstration “privilege activism”.

Five XR protesters have been on the roof for a week now, and have been refusing to come down until Rees addresses the fatal levels of air pollution in Bristol.

The Bristol Tab spoke to a protester on the roof on Monday, who told us he “expected better” after hearing nothing from the council over their demonstrations.

Protesters scaled City Hall at 5am on Thursday 25th June

During a Facebook live yesterday, Rees told his audience: “It’s privilege activism just to do something, click your fingers and then expect me to turn up.

“If you want to meet me, send an email, phone me up or send a paper letter. You don’t need to climb on a roof and then shout down demanding I come out.

“That kind of ‘we’re going to do something extreme, snap our fingers and expect you to come running’, hopefully we got over that culture with tearing down the Colston statue.”

He also called the protesters actions “dramatic”, adding: “If you want to talk, just come and talk to me. You don’t have to do something so dramatic. We’re all grown up human beings.”

Rees also criticised XR’s argument that the council are “doing nothing” about air pollution in Bristol, and said that this was a “juvenile conversation” comparable to a “teenager telling their parents they never do anything for them”.

XR have been engaging in further demonstrations to raise awareness of the lives lost due to toxic air in Bristol

“To me that is the very same politics that’s led us to Brexit and Trump, this simplification of politics…’you don’t agree with everything I say…therefore I’m going to portray you as an enemy, not just of me, of everything that I claim to embody’, and they claim to embody the environmental movement and the planet.

“It’s really poor and it under-serves us. The truth is there’s lots going on in the city around air quality and climate change.

“Now if you want to say ‘not enough is happening and you’re not doing it fast enough’, that’s an adult conversation we can have. But if your argument is ‘you’re doing nothing’ then that’s a juvenile conversation.

“Let’s have an adult conversation and tell the truth.”

The Mayor also listed ways in which Bristol are taking steps to help the air pollution in the city: “It doesn’t take much to click on all the news items about our pedestrianisation of the Old City, the biogas buses, the City Leap programmes, the driving of the SDGs [sustainable development goals] into our spatial planning, the fact that we took the SDGs up to the Local Government Association and had it shared out with all the local authorities across the country, the fact that we sit on the Mayors Migration Council and through we’re also actually advocating for the C40, the global network of cities on climate change to be part of the Mayors Migration Council.”

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‘We expected better’: The XR rebels are still on the City Hall roof

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