Last Updated on October 17, 2019
London commuters fought back on Thursday against Extinction Rebellion protestors, with one man dragging a protestor off the roof of a train.
Extinction Rebellion, also known as XR, has been protesting across the world, demanding that governments take radical action to stop the apparent threat of man-made climate change.
In a blog post, the co-founder admitted that XR’s crusade was primarily against the “toxic system” of Western civilisation, and were using climate change as a mask to hide their true aims.
Their most recent stunt, however, didn’t go as planned, and drew the ire of London commuters who were just trying to get to work.
Mark Ovland, a 36 year old protestor who has already been arrested and released “several times this week,” decided to stand top of a train at Canning Town tube station to stop it leaving.
He was eventually dragged off by an angry commuter and then attacked by the crowd:
Commuters now physically dragging protestors from the roof of the train. @itvlondon pic.twitter.com/gDkXfJNxmL
— Holly Collins (@HollyJoCollins) October 17, 2019
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The footage quickly became a meme online:
Everyone watching the footage from Canning Town this morning. #ExtinctionRebellion pic.twitter.com/klVcnF4yQK
— Graeme (@spacecadet0697) October 17, 2019
Another protestor who glued herself to a train was called out for being a hypocrite. “How did you get here? Did you walk here?” commuters asked:
What I love most about this is that ordinary commuters are asking the questions of the Extinction Rebellion activists that most journalists covering their protests have failed to do. “How did you get here? Did you walk? You’re a hypocrite.” https://t.co/7aPATOjpJV
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) October 17, 2019
Writing in Spiked, Brendan O’Neill applauded the commuters, and said this incident represents a turn in the wider public mood against Extinction Rebellion:
Some leftists and greens have been shocked by today’s rebellion against Extinction Rebellion. They’re saying XR should change tactics. But the problem here isn’t tactics – no, this ugly, elitist inconveniencing of ordinary people represents the actual content of XR’s outlook. It captures the fundamentals of this movement, which is a backward-looking, anti-progress, anti-people outfit. Today’s XR sneering at working people wasn’t a mistaken tactic – it was the essence of environmentalism. The idea that XR must now change tack to try to win over more working people is ridiculous. People reject this elitist movement. They reject its alarmism, its snobbery, its anti-humanism, and its demands for crippling austerity. We saw that today. Commuters’ message was ‘Fuck Extinction Rebellion’. And that’s a positive, progressive, forward-looking political demand we can organise around.
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A snap poll by YouGov found that the vast majority of the public supported the actions of the London commuters against the Extinction Rebellion protestors, with 63% of them backing the public, and only 13% backing the protestors.
Regarding the Extinction Rebellion protest this morning at Canning Town tube station, who do your sympathies lie more with…?
The protestors: 13%
The commuters who dragged them off: 63% https://t.co/cr3nFHEpmF pic.twitter.com/NsBp2DLWg5
— YouGov (@YouGov) October 17, 2019
The British Transport Police have made 8 arrests in connection with Thursday’s protests, but have also warned that they may investigate the commuters who “took matters into their own hands”, as their actions were still “unacceptable.”
A similar incident happened in Edmonton, Canada, as an angry man grabbed the banner of XR protestors who were blocking a road and threw it away:
Everyone’s tired of Extinction Rebellion. When these activists tried to block the intersection a hero came up to them, grabbed their banner and threw it away. And yes, everyone clapped. pic.twitter.com/0BzLrGe6nk
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 17, 2019