The monthly Activism Bulletin provides a concise overview of forthcoming activism and protest events, brief analysis of significant developments and a preview of planned protests, which could disrupt business.
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On 8 May, several hundred protesters from a range of environmental single-issue groups held a climate change demonstration in central London. Protesters assembled at Trafalgar Square and proceeded to walk backwards down Whitehall passing Downing Street to illustrate the government’s alleged ‘backwards step’ in protecting the environment and committing to the COP 21 agreements made last year in Paris. Protesters stopped at various locations during the demonstration to highlight specific issues, including opposition to fracking, increasing air pollution and the reneging of the government’s commitment to renewable energy.
One of the key areas of protest was opposition to a new runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick airports, with campaigners claiming that the development would increase pollution in London. Critically, the demonstration came before a North Yorkshire county council granted energy company, Third Energy, the licence to carry out operational fracking at an existing drill site in north Yorkshire. Due to the controversies surrounding fracking and commitments to opposing the practice, it is anticipated that environmental groups will now target fracking companies and sites that are granted licences in the coming months, with fracking being a critical environmental focus in 2016 and into 2017.
On 18 June, a number of single-issue groups, including the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Stop the War Coalition, War on Want and Stand Up To Racism are holding a mobile protest from London to Calais to support refugees coming to the UK and to oppose the government’s restrictions on displaced persons arriving from the Middle East and Africa. Beginning at 0930hrs in central London, activists intend to travel to Dover holding frequent stop off points to emphasise the issue of the migrant crisis.
Upon arrival in Dover, activists are to hold another rally, while a solidarity rally is being held in central London at 1300hrs. This is before activists then depart to Calais. While the protest is expected to be peaceful, support for pro-migrant/refugee demonstrations in the UK is growing, with further well-supported actions over the issue expected in the coming months.