June Bulletin

  • 01 Jun 2017 14:47

UK and Ireland Civil Unrest and Activism Bulletin

Car fire

Activism Review
On 29 May, an estimated 4,000 people joined a march in central London to oppose Prime Minister Theresa May’s suggestion that if the Conservatives win the General Election on 8 June she would consider offering parliament a vote to repeal the fox hunting ban. The “Make Hunting History March” is currently the largest protest during the election campaign and attracted a broad spectrum of support. The event assembled at Cavendish Square at around 1330hrs before proceeding towards Whitehall via Regents Street, Haymarket and Trafalgar Square. The protest culminated in a rally at Richmond Terrace at 1400hrs. More than 130,000 people have signed an online petition criticising May’s proposal. Animal rights movements are more passive than in previous decades, certainly following a government crackdown against activists who opposed animal testing, with links to Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). However, fox hunting remains a highly emotive topic and according to polls, the ban is supported by around 80 percent of the population. A move to repeal the vote would attract vociferousmass protesting, while a reintroduction of fox hunting could likely trigger more violent direct action.

Activism Analysis
Speculation is escalating that US President Donald Trump is preparing to leave the 2015 Paris Climate Change Accord. Trump stated via social media on 31 May that he would make a “final decision” in the next few days. If the US left the 2015 agreement, it would be one of only three countries – Nicaragua and Syria – that are not committed to the accord. Global leaders have urged Trump to reconsider and part of his own White House administration are also believed to be applying pressure. Scientists state the US’s withdrawal would exacerbate an already serious problem, with three billion additional tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere every year. At a more tactical level, Trump’s decision, if he does go ahead, is likely to trigger significant environmental protest action, specifically in the US, but also in the UK. Environmental groups in the UK including Campaign for Climate Change, Friends of the Earth and Global Justice are holding an action at the US Embassy on 1 June to demand the US remains in the accord. Further similar actions against US diplomatic offices and interests in the UK are likely in the coming weeks if Trump does withdraw the US from the Paris treaty. 

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