Extinction Rebellion: Arrested Shropshire activists 'would do it again'

Extinction Rebellion activists from across Shropshire arrested in a major London demonstration have said they would do it again.

Protesters from Shrewsbury block the road outside the Ministry of Defence
Protesters from Shrewsbury block the road outside the Ministry of Defence

Hundreds of people travelled from all corners of the county to make their voice heard in the two-week action in the capital in October.

A group of five from Shrewsbury were some of the first arrested on the first day of the protests, for blocking the road outside the Ministry of Defence.

Among them was Dr Rosie Puplett, who said: “I remember thinking what a small thing it was – just standing in the road with a sign, two steps from the pavement. Yet it also felt like one of the most significant things I had ever done.

She said being arrested was, “one of the proudest moments of my life” and added: “I will continue to participate in XR until we achieve our aims, or it becomes too late. I would happily do it again.”

Jo Blackman was also arrested on the first morning, and again 10 days later outside the Supreme Court, for disobeying a court order banning the protestors from everywhere but Trafalgar Square.

She said: “Over the last year I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to get the government to take this crisis seriously and to begin making the huge changes required is through mass disobedience.”

Retired teacher Kris Welch, from Broseley, was also arrested twice.

She said: “It was a frightening decision to step over a line and put myself in a position where I would be arrested, but the climate crisis is so urgent and so terrifying that I felt I had no alternative.

“Having done this once I will do it again, for my children and for my own conscience.”

Gill Davis from Much Wenlock said she felt compelled to act out of “desperation” over the climate crisis.

She said: “As the October Rebellion approached, I just knew I had to declare myself ‘arrestable’. This decision caused me much anxiety”

Gill was arrested for highway obstruction and said: “If the Government do not act, I will do it again.”

Paul Cooper, from Broseley, said he felt “obliged” to join the demonstrations and was arrested on Lambeth Bridge.

He said: “The police treated me with the utmost respect and it is not right that the Government fails in its first duty to protect its citizens and saddles policing with this extra work.

“I will do it again until the Government takes decisive action to save our jewel of a planet.”

Jamie Russell from Shrewsbury was arrested on the second day of the protests. He said: “I hope that by getting arrested people who know me will stop and look at the science and realise the scale of what we’re facing.”

Belle Lewis, 18, from Shrewsbury, was 17 at the time and was among the youngest of those arrested.

She said: "I felt as though I had a moral obligation to take the necessary action to draw attention to the extent of the climate crisis and force governmental action.

"I am prepared to do it again until our three demands are met."

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