Thousands of supporters at the London Marathon were relieved yesterday after loyal Extinction Rebellion activists blocked plans by other “naughty” members keen to disrupt the event. They now say they did not want to be “the bad guys”. Lots of XR members showed up at Westminster but were warned that stopping the race could alienate people from their cause. However, there are growing fears that groups other grass-roots groups may not be so respectful during upcoming events such as the Coronation.
Talking about the protests yesterday, one member of the group said there were “a handful of naughty people who would like to block the race”.
Michael, 63, came from Belgium to protest in London. He said members of the group were acting as “stewards” to stop people from disrupting the marathon.
He said: “There are a handful of naughty people who would like to block the race to protest about the climate situation.
“We believe a handful of people might want to do an action to block the race to protest that we are not doing anything for the climate and we would like to stop that because we don’t believe it’s necessary.”
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Another XR member, Lu Curtis, 52, said the group thwarted plans for disruption amongst their group, which has no official leader, because they did not want to be branded as “the bad guys”.
They said: “We are doing it specifically today to show people we are good people.”
Instead of cause disruption to runners and their families, XR marched to the Home Office where they promised to create “20,000 origami boats” with “personal” letters written on them, to be sent to MPs and Home Secretary Suella Braverman to protest the Illegal Migration Bill.
The Bill aims to stop small boats from crossing the English Channel from France.
Hundreds of small paper boats were left outside the building.
In a statement, XR activist Olly Baines said: “We have worked closely with the London Marathon over six months to make sure that we can safely co-exist during this weekend. Yesterday, with the biggest march for nature ever to take place in the UK at the same time as the Mini Marathon, the two events passed peacefully and without incident.”
He added: “We all want clean air, pure waters and a healthy green planet. We wish the marathon every success.”
Protesters from The English Constitution Party are considering throwing rape alarms at horses during the Coronation procession in London on 6 May.
Other groups including the anti-monarchist group Republic are expected to protest.