'Tense' situation as climate change protesters block roads in Chesterfield town centre

Climate change campaigners blocked streets in Chesterfield town centre yesterday in a bid to ‘rekindle’ awareness of the threat to the planet.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 10:19 am

Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) action codenamed ‘Rebellion of One’ saw solitary protesters – with billboards stating ‘I’m terrified my grandchildren will suffer because of climate change’ – sit down in front of traffic at 11am on Bank Holiday Monday.

In Chesterfield, vehicle access to Saltergate, and the top of Soresby Street were closed for a while by ‘sitters’.

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Extinction Rebellion in Chesterfield say their action was a 'Rebellion of One'.

Eyewitnesses described a ‘tense’ situation as one of the protesters was confronted by a driver before police arrived at the scene on Saltergate.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said no arrests had been made in Chesterfield.

However, XR said protesters had been arrested in other parts of the country.

One of the sitters, a Chesterfield grandmother, said the aim was to raise awareness of XR’s goals and lack of government action on climate change.

One protester said Government was concealing the scale of the climate change crisis.

She said: "From 2018 Extinction Rebellion began successfully to draw media and public attention across the world to the scientific prediction that unless we became carbon neutral by 2030 the atmosphere would tip out of control, taking with it civilization as we know it.

"Instead of being honest and helping the population to make our lifestyles more environment-friendly the government is now passing vicious new laws to try and prevent us showing concern.

"They're concealing the scale of the crisis while continuing to throw taxpayers' money and tax breaks at the polluters."

Brian Lever, spokesperson for XR Chesterfield, said: “Humanity is in a desperate situation, and we are all responsible for the global heating resulting from carbon emissions.

"Science has explained what David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have brought to everyone's attention, that unless humans cut the use of fossil fuels very very quickly there will be massive floods and wildfires, increased migration pressure and wars resulting from food scarcity, on an unprecedented scale.

“Yet governments, corporations and sections of the press continue to pay lip-service to the looming crisis.

"They pretend to be concerned while they continue to invest billions in new oil and gas wells,” he added.

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