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REBEL ARREST: St Albans activist makes statement of intent

 Published on: 20th October 2019   |   By: News Desk   |   Category: Uncategorized

In a month full of Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests catching the national headlines, a St Albans man has spoken about why he stood for action on the climate emergency.

Nigel Harvey, 56, was one of the 1,400 activists to be arrested in a week full of action on London’s streets in October.

The main intention of these protests is to cause “maximum disruption” and demand urgent action on the climate crisis which is why Mr Harvey, and many others were arrested – to raise awareness.

“I was arrested on Monday afternoon, for alleged wilful obstruction of the public highway in Trafalgar Square. The police warned me in advance that I was likely to be arrested, but I chose to remain where I was,” explained Nigel.

“So, we needed to try something different and the urgency meant it needed to be radical. So, drawing on the example of peaceful civil disobedience that drove change in the US civil rights movement, and many other similar movements, XR are encouraging large scale peaceful protest to drive the issue up the agenda.”

In protest, Nigel and others sat on the pavement in Trafalgar Square to prevent the removal of a scaffolding tower which protesters had built, climbed and super-flued themselves to.

After 13 hours in custody, Mr Harvey, who is the CEO of Recolight, a non-profit company which works in recycling energy saving lamps for their clients, was released without a police interview, caution or charge, which poses the question why someone would “chose to be arrested”.

Nigel said: “The climate emergency is not just about polar bears and penguins. This is about the collapse of our own societies resulting from mass migration, food riots, flooding, fires and more. For the last decade, many of us have tried to reduce our carbon footprints and encouraged others to do likewise. And yet carbon emissions keep rising. All the usual ways of encouraging politicians to take really difficult decisions to address the issue have largely failed. Understandably, they are generally focused on the next election, which makes difficult decisions much harder.

“After the April protests, XR met with Government, and a climate emergency declaration followed.  But little real action followed. More is needed.  And that is why I was prepared to do what I did.  I chose to be arrested, and I chose to have that arrest publicised, as a way of raising awareness.”

Activists have used many different methods to cause disruption in London’s, including people gluing themselves to roads, planes and spraying 1,800 litres of fake blood over the Treasury building in Westminster.

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