As the country falls into a two-minute silence to remember those who fought during World War I, Extinction Rebellion has staged a protest at the Cenotaph on Whitehall.
This morning, several members of Extinction Rebellion protested at the Cenotaph on Armistice Day. The protest started at 8 am, three hours before the national two-minute silence.
The protesters laid a wreath reading “Act Now” at the Cenotaph, whilst holding a banner reading: “Honour their sacrifice – climate change means war.”
The chair of the Defence Select Committee, Tobias Ellwood told the Telegraph that the protesters risk turning the public from their cause.
“The importance of what the Cenotaph stands for is that pivotal and iconic representation of the sacrifice that has been given for the freedoms we enjoy today,” Mr Ellwood said.
The stunt has resulted in several negative reactions on Twitter:
Ive delayed posting this – But the LOATHSOME & SICKENING Extinction Rebellion hijacked the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day morning trying their upmost to dishonour the day – they need to hang their heads in shame & themselves be made Extinct pic.twitter.com/upux3CvCy8
— Brutus Maximus AKA Brian Braddock (@Brutusmaximus) November 11, 2020
From Attenborough to war veterans today, Extinction Rebellion antics reinforce the idea that either their comms team have misread "all publicity is good publicity" as "encourage people to hate your cause and members" — OR someone in their team is actively trying to undermine it.
— Nic Wistreich (@netribution) November 11, 2020
When faux rebellions make statements derived from a board room meeting you get Extinction rebellion laying a wreath plastered in there climate pessimism. Pure idiocy and counter productive to there cause if anything.
— Ho-Ho-Wine (Owain) (@Oh_Owain) November 11, 2020
At the centre of the protest, a 64-year-old veteran and protester, Donald Bell said he was aware of the backlash he may receive after today’s actions.
He said: “Remembrance Day is never an easy time for veterans and this was not an easy decision for me to make.
“But I served this country, I served the people of this country and the action I took today is about just that. Unchecked climate change means a return to a world at war. I cannot stand by and let that happen. It is my duty to act.”
Remembrance should be for remembering. Not for political gesturing.
Absolutely despicable from extinction rebellion……again.
— YorkshirePundit (@YorkshirePundit) November 11, 2020
According to the Telegraph, Extinction Rebellion did not plan the protest but a small group of members pulled the stunt.
Words: Sam Tabahriti | Subbing: Leah Trimmer