At midday a bright green banner was dropped, bearing the group’s name, from the large tower of Great Saint Mary’s Church. Then at 1pm around fifty people arrived for an extreme weather flash mob, bearing umbrellas and running for shelter from imaginary rain in and around the market creating a surreal atmosphere of obscurity.
“The flash mob created a marked oddness, that carved a space for people to see things differently. And this is exactly what we need to do if we are to face up to the immensity of climate change”, said Chico Carino, a theatre student from Plymouth.
There was also street theatre highlighting false solutions to climate change, such as carbon offsetting, while other activists gave out free vegan cakes and chatted to members of the public.
“It was really inspiring to find so many passing students being so open to what we were attempting to express”, said Hayley Priddin a participant from Birmingham.
The banner remained up for over an hour, and the police were even prevented from entering the tower by the Church’s vicar who was heard telling them that those dropping the banner had paid their money to go up the tower and weren’t doing any harm. This followed the revelation earlier in the week that the police’s Special Branch had been monitoring the group, and had attempted to suppress any climate activity from taking place by contacting the University Proctors and threatening over fifty police officers for the event.
“When we first arrived in the Market Square there was police vehicles everywhere, but they soon cleared off when they saw their heavy presence was completely unjustified in what was essentially a peaceful outreach event. But it does raise issues about the police’s interference with political activity, which could prove lethal given the urgency of climate change”, said campaigner Bradley Day.
However, the campaigners triumphed in the end, and were received well by the local people who admired their creative new approaches to the issue. “It’s great that these young students are taking control of their future, and if they keep up the energy they’ve demonstrated today then I’m sure they will be successful in their ambitious aims”, commented Phillip Hatton, who was shopping in the Market at the time. Their next stop is going to be Roehampton University in London, where they will be stepping up their activities and promise a further flurry of actions and creativity.
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