Five members of new political party Beyond Politics, including Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam have been sent to prison today following arrests yesterday and have immediately begun a hunger strike.
The five have all been placed on remand until a plea hearing in four weeks’ time. Members of the party have been involved in various non-violent direct action protests mainly involving eco-friendly bright pink paint, which has been sprayed at NGO and political party buildings. They are protesting the lack of action on climate and ecological emergency, and the party demands the creation of immediately legally-binding Citizens Assemblies.
At Highbury & Islington court this afternoon, defence lawyers argued that they were no threat to the general public and should be bailed, but despite the pandemic situation and associated health risks of prison, they were all remanded after being charged with conspiracy to commit public nuisance and criminal damage.
Along with Roger Hallam were a retired doctor, an Anglican priest, a young journalist and a photographer.
The five prisoners have announced they will begin an immediate hunger strike in protest at what they see as unjust and politically motivated imprisonment, and several other members of the group have already vowed to join them.
Roger Hallam is an organic farmer and social mobilisation PhD researcher who has long expounded his theories of how to tackle world problems of climate, ecology and injustice through civil disobedience, basing his ideas on transformative movements such as the suffragettes, Ghandi, Martin Luther King and many others. His research formed much of the basis of Extinction Rebellion’s early protests.
Before his arrest, Anglican priest Steven Nunn, worried for the future for his six grandchildren, said “Whether it involves going to prison or whether it doesn’t, something needs to happen so that people will stand up and listen.”
Beyond Politics, although made up of many XR activists, is a new party and separate movement.
Major new film The Troublemaker which followed Hallam over the course of 18 months, is available to watch for free until Thursday, after which it will be pay-to-view for a small fee. The film poses a simple question: with the consensus of informed opinion declaring a ‘climate emergency’, is it morally acceptable to sit back and do nothing?
FREE LINK NO LONGER VALID – GO TO https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thetroublemaker AND SUPPORT THIS IMPORTANT FILM WITH A SMALL DONATION TO VIEW.
Watch an interview with Roger Hallam filmed shortly before his arrest.
More info at burningpink.com