Extinction Rebellion hunger strikers target UK political parties | Environment

Activists from the Extinction Rebellion group have begun hunger strikes outside a number of UK political party headquarters in an attempt to push for more robust policies on tackling the climate emergency in the general election.

The action, in which one group has occupied a lobby at the London headquarters of the Labour party, is part of a wider global Extinction Rebellion protest based on a week-long hunger strike.

In a tweet the organisation said hunger strikers “will be outside all UK political party HQs all week demanding leaders meet us and talk about our three demands bill.”

This calls for governments to “tell the truth” about the extent of the climate emergency; to commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and stop biodiversity loss; and to move beyond politics and address the issue via ideas such as citizens’ assemblies.

Labour confirmed there were protesters at its headquarters but gave no other details.

An Extinction Rebellion protester also targeted the office of the Brexit party on Monday morning. A senior party official said the Metropolitan police had informed the party that a demonstrator had tried to access its office at Victoria Street, Westminster.

The source said: “They tried to get in. The police called us because we weren’t all there today.” They said one member of staff had been in the office at the time and they were fine.

The move follows the group’s second major wave of protests across London in October, in which a number of streets and bridges were blocked and more than 1,800 people were arrested.

The Met police later imposed a so-called section 14 order under the Public Order Act 1986, barring any more action by the group. Following a legal challenge, the high court found this had been unlawful.

Extinction Rebellion has published a letter it has sent to all the party leaders, seeking a meeting. It begins: “Today, humanity is at a crossroads. Either we unite to prevent the rapidly escalating climate and ecological collapse, or this nation and global society will disintegrate beyond recognition.

“Your party has an absolute duty of care, for the current and future wellbeing of everyone in the United Kingdom.”

It requests that the leaders agree to a one-hour, on camera meeting with the group “as a matter of urgency” to discuss the three demands.

The letter ends: “This request is being made by Extinction Rebellion to the seven main parties contesting the UK general election. The responses will be collated and published. Polls show that at this election the majority of voters will consider party responses to the emergency when deciding how to vote.”

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