Extinction Rebellion Bristol protesters scaled City Hall’s roof one week ago, demanding legally clean air across the city by 2021.
Following Bristol mayor Marvin Rees’ Facebook Q&A on Wednesday, July 1, the protesters are preparing to descend for the roof of the council building.
The climate group asked for a public response from the mayor, or Bristol City Council, on their plans to achieve clean air and what has already been accomplished.
Mayor Marvin Rees answered comments through his weekly Facebook Q&A, in which he also asked the activists to “show some respect for yourselves”, calling the protest a “stunt”.
Before this week, the mayor said the estimated compliance date is 2025. Rees has said they are now considering bringing forward the compliance date from 2025 to the end of 2022.
The activists will descend from City Hall roof later today after necessary preparations and tidying up.
Tomorrow, Extinction Rebellion Bristol will reconvene on College Green at 11.30am. The activists are encouraging will allow people in Bristol to join them to have their say on the issue of air pollution.
“This action was not taken lightly,” says Pete Hughes, Extinction Rebellion Bristol’s regional coordinator. “For the last two weeks we have been remembering the fact that nearly 300 people die in Bristol per year, and countless others are impacted, from toxic air.
“Let’s not forget that while we have been up there this week, on the basis of Bristol City Council’s own data, five more people in Bristol are likely to have died prematurely from air pollution. And there is a disproportionate impact on inner city communities.”
In response to Rees calling the occupation of City Hall as “privilege activism”, Extinction Rebellion Bristol said: “We want our actions to contribute towards positive change for Bristol on the climate and ecological emergency.
“We understand that this means we will come under fire and get labelled in different ways. The truth is that we are terrified – for our lungs, for our children’s futures, and dire impacts for those in the global south.”
The group are now calling on the mayor to hold a citizen’s assembly.
Main photo: Simon Holliday