A Dorking mother of five arrested for taking part in an Extinction Rebellion blockade of Waterloo Bridge has pleaded not guilty at London Magistrates Court today on the grounds that she was trying to prevent “loss of life.”
Speaking outside the court Jakki Phillips, 51, insisted she will continue her fight to get the government to take action in the face of the climate emergency and will be attending the protests organised by environmental group Extinction Rebellion (XR) over the next fortnight.
Mrs Phillips, 51, was arrested in London whilst taking part in peaceful civil disobedience protests organised by XR in April this year.
Her case is one of scores that have come to court this week just days before XR’s next wave of demonstrations in London which begin on 7 October.
XR’s latest action comes as public concern grows about the climate crisis which has prompted millions of people to take part in mass peaceful demonstrations around the world.
Mrs Phillips said that her arrest had not deterred her from returning to London next week to take part in the XR demonstrations which will take place at seven sites across the capital.
She said: “I am taking this action because the usual methods of campaigning have not worked.
“The inaction and failure of our government to take the necessary measures to tackle the climate and ecological breakdown means my children now face an uncertain future.
“From even before our children are born we do everything we can to protect them from harm.
“As a mother I cannot simply stand aside and watch as their future is taken away from them. So I am standing up to do what I feel I can.
“Climate and ecological breakdown affects us all. The scientific facts are clear. This is an emergency situation and we have to act now.”
Mrs Phillip’s husband Rob, 51, a construction industry executive, said his wife’s arrest had only emphasised the need to take action.
“Today I sat in a magistrates’ court and watched my law-abiding wife of 27 years plead not guilty to charges brought by the state for blocking a bridge.
Charges that are intended to silence and frighten citizens from speaking out and raising the alarm against the indisputable scientific fact that our planet and all future generations are in mortal danger from human induced global warming.
Charges that are intended to keep the status quo and ensure business as usual.
I can no longer sit idly by and watch the wanton disregard for our planet and all forms of life that live on it.
I will be in London next week to rebel against this toxic system and highlight governments’ inaction whilst we still have a hope of saving our beautiful home.
About Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion came to public prominence in 2018, after a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that immediate, deep cuts in carbon emissions and radical infrastructure changes are needed for even a 50–66% chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change.1
The group blocked bridges in London in late 2018, before a major protest action that lasted more than a week in April pushed climate change up the political agenda and persuaded Parliament to declare a Climate Emergency.
However, there has been little Government action since then, and global carbon emissions and rates of ecosystem destruction have continued to rise unabated.
Subsequent reports by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services2 and a key UN Science Advisory Group3 have confirmed that humanity is on track for an unprecedented global climate and ecological disaster.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
• In the UK, come to one of our events, or join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
• Find your local group, or start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
• Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
• And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.
1 IPCC, Global Warming of 1.5ºC (Geneva, Switzerland: World Meteorological Organization, 2018). URL=https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
2 IPBES, Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Bonn, Germany: IPBES secretariat, 2019). URL=https://www.ipbes.net/global-assessment-report-biodiversity-ecosystem-services
3 Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, United In Science: High-level synthesis report of latest climate science information convened by the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 (World Meteorological Organization, 2019). URL=https://bit.ly/2nP0Cyf