Well that was a long night! Seven XRC members were on duty for the night shift last night. They started at 11pm alongside rebels from Bury St Edmunds and Colchester. Outside the back of Downing Street, we sat in a circle of picnic chairs and got to know each other better. There was a constant police presence and many vans pulling up and turning back round again. Low flying police helicopters kept any of those trying to sleep in the tents on the verges from doing so.
In between going round in circles about the various ways we could tackle climate change in our culture, looking at how oppression and division prevents us from coming together to change the status quo, we also tackled the really hard questions: What is your second favourite biscuit?
Yes, that is what conversation was reduced to at 3am in the morning. As it turns out, the topic was much cause for debate. We were relieved when the sustenance team (including an XRC member) turned up with a flask of hot water, a multitude of tea options and ginger nut biscuits. Case closed.
Intermittently we’d meet other rebels from across the Westminster sites and another rebel was projecting the XR symbol around the place.
The sun began to peak its head and so did the numbers of police. It was a little touch and go on the last hour of our shift as we thought the site was at risk. Cue the Samba band that successfully woke any last person trying to sleep and welcomed in day 2 of the Rebellion.
Sleepy rebels emerged from their tents and our numbers doubled – Love Rebellion was set to see another day. XRC members slipped out to get some rest in our offsite den of cosy beds, showers and a kettle.
Speaking to XRC members who stuck it out through day 2:
“I feel more empowered today. I’ve realised and we’ve realised as a site what it means to be truly autonomous. We get to make decisions. I feel more prepared and I know I have more time to look after my basic needs.”
Ellie, 24, cleaner, dog walker and activist
With more and more infrastructure coming in bit by bit, Love Rebellion now has an info tent, portaloos and well stocked kitchen. At the time of writing, the solar team had just dropped off their panels and access to power. This will mean bigger and better performances tomorrow. XR Families chose to decamp from their site on The Mall after hosting their own People’s Assemblies; they have now joined us at the Love Rebellion site.
“I was feeling quite low this morning, but I have been lifted by the Samba band and our People’s Assembly. We even played games and ice breakers. We are getting to know each other now. The unity of the love rebellion is coming together.”
Other XRC members joined us today as well:
“I have so much respect for XR and XRC – those who are here at the sharp end. It’s brave and impressive and so important given the emergency we’re facing. I came to see if I could help in any way. To see what XRC has become is incredible. Back in February there were 4 of us in a pub! It’s grown into something amazing and beautiful; from the school strikes to this – it’s bringing a lot of people in Chelmsford together. I did not realise that so many people in Chelmsford were as worried about the climate crisis as me!”
Colin, 38, father of two
“I’m here because I care. I feel overwhelmed with the situation we’re stuck in at the moment. At times I feel helpless and feel it is my duty to show support and take action when I can. It’s my first time here – I haven’t seen much yet but the vibe is amazing. I’ve come here after my course in London today, but will be back at the weekend.”
Carmel, 24, spoken word artist
So that brings the total so far – more than 30 folks from Chelmsford have made the trip up to London!
Meanwhile in Chelmsford – XRC made it onto BBC news today as Essex County Council failed to declare a climate emergency, instead making a range of environmental commitments. Approximately 10 members of XRC attended today’s meeting and 40 minutes of the two hour meeting was dedicated to the topic of climate change.
The team will be collecting their thoughts on today’s meeting in a separate blog post. In the meantime, check out the press coverage:
NOTE: if you are coming to visit us – we are on HORSE GUARDS ROAD, the back of Westminster, closest tube is Westminster. Come visit the info tent. (Written 23:50, Tuesday 8 October)
Check our Telegram XRC London chat conversation for latest info if you’re coming up.