15 february 2020

Extinction Rebellion protest at Gatwick and London fashion week

Activists aim to raise awareness of sustainable design and the need to reduce emissions from flights

Nadeem Badshah, The Guardian

Sat 15 Feb 2020
Activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) blocked traffic outside a London fashion week venue on Saturday and also staged a protest at Gatwick airport.

Dozens of demonstrators prevented traffic from passing through a busy intersection leading to the Strand in Westminster, where the fashion trade show was being held.

Protesters carried placards reading: “No more false fashion” and “No fashion on a dead planet,” while others wore dresses made from chains.

Last week, XR members delivered a letter to the British Fashion Council, calling for it to cancel the next London fashion week, due to be held in September.

Sara Arnold, who helped coordinate the protest, said: “London is home to the cutting edge of sustainable and ethical design and yet London fashion week lags behind.

“And despite having an active political engagement programme, you have done almost nothing to lobby for environmental policies, without which a transition with the urgency we need is simply impossible.

“We have all failed, but now radical leadership is required. We need you, the British Fashion Council, as appointed industry administrators, to find the power and courage to centre a visionary process and protocol, without delay.”
An Extinction Rebellion protester greets people arriving from international at Gatwick.

A handful of activists held a peaceful demo at Gatwick in Sussex, including one man dressed in a tiger onesie, to raise awareness of aircraft pollution.

XR activists in disguise gathered in the airport’s south terminal at about 9.30am before revealing themselves.

Protesters were instructed to arrive incognito and pretend to be waiting to meet someone amid fears they would not be allowed in the airport.

The group of about 10 activists unveiled their full complement of XR banners, shirts and badges, and began mingling with the public.

Passengers landing on flights from Salzburg, Madrid and Kingston were greeted by the protesters.

Dan Burke, 16, a youth activist, said: ”We are already in climate crisis. We need to act now and, as we have seen in history, one of the best ways to bring forward actual legislation is to be in nonviolent disobedience.”

Leaflets handed out apologised for the disruption but said: “We need your help.”

A post on Facebook for the Gatwick Action event said: “Let’s get the message out – change can happen – and those who fly have the opportunity to make a big contribution by cutting their flights.”

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