Bristol Uni student shuts down Clifton Suspension Bridge as part of XR Youth action

The protesters have since been arrested

Last night, a 20-year-old student from the University of Bristol and an 18-year-old student shut down the Clifton Suspension Bridge by lying on the bridge in an arm lock ahead of Extinction Rebellion (XR) Youth action.

Bristol student Charlie Siret and post A-level student Fern “locked on” to block the roadway before the police’s planned closure of the bridge at midnight.

XR Youth had planned to blockade and protest on the bridge today, but the bridge is now completely closed off. XR Youth Bristol have confirmed on their Instagram that both members were arrested.

XR Youth lock on to Clifton Suspension Bridge. Photo credit: Simon Holliday

Last night, in a press release, Poppy Silk from XR Youth said: “It appears that the police wanted to defuse the power of youth action by giving their permission and pre-empting our bridge closure action.

“This isn’t an escorted school excursion for us. Two of our members will be lying out in the rain tonight to block the bridge roadway, in advance of the police’s planned shutdown, to express the seriousness of our purpose”

XR are protesting for the introduction into the UK parliament of a Climate & Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill which provides a clear structure for building an economy that works for people and planet.

This XR Youth action follows earlier XR action this summer. In June, five protesters set up camp on the roof of Bristol City Town Hall as part of a week of action raising awareness over polluted air in the city.

Aden Harris of Bristol’s XR Youth, who have organised the initial Clifton Suspension Bridge action, said in a press release: XR Youth are taking action today to call the government to account. We need leadership and a country that’s capable of tackling and reversing the ongoing crisis.

“We want the government to get behind the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill now.”

The centre of XR Youth’s activity over this bank holiday weekend will be along Bristol’s Harbourside.

The group have shut off Prince Street Bridge to vehicle traffic over the weekend, with a centrepiece installation of a life-sized African Elephant to signify the “elephant in the room”, which XR claim is “the fact that our current political and economic systems can’t save us from the climate crisis we’re facing.”

All Photos: Simon Holliday

Related stories recommended by this writer:

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

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

• ‘Clean air for life’ art installation has been erected on College Green by XR activists