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11th Nov 2020

Extinction Rebellion place climate change banner on Cenotaph on Remembrance Day

Extinction Rebellion paid their respects to the war dead by placing a wreath at the cenotaph urging world leaders to act now against climate change

Reuben Pinder

‘Honour their sacrifice, climate change means war’

Extinction Rebellion protesters placed a wreath and hung a banner at the cenotaph displaying a message calling on political leaders to act now against climate change.

The protest took place a few hours ahead of official ceremonies began to commemorate the nation’s war dead.

The banner, placed over the railings outside the Cenotaph, read ‘Honour Their Sacrifice, Climate Change Means War’, while the wreath of poppies placed on the memorial contained the message ‘Act Now’.

The climate change activist group XR said their actions intend to “highlight the connection between rising global temperatures and an increase in the incidence of conflict and war”.

The protest was led by a former British soldier, Donald Bell, who served four tours in Northern Ireland and saw “good friends die.”

The 64-year-old veteran said: “I took action today knowing that I would be criticised. I knew that I would be accused of being disrespectful and hated by many for speaking out in this way.

“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.”

Bell believes the government have failed to meet promises on climate change action and feels he cannot stand by and watch in good faith.

“This government is criminally negligent and young people today will pay the price for their failure,” Mr Bell said.

He added: “Many of the people who attend the Remembrance Day Service have never seen the horrors of war. I hope they never have to.

“However you feel about the action today, I want people to take this message – if we don’t deal with this climate emergency, now, it will lead to war.”