23 February 2024 5:51 PM
War of the eco-warriors: XR vows to prevent Just Stop Oil from disrupting London Marathon

An eco-rift has broken out between Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil – dubbed the ‘War of the Wazzocks’ – over whether to disrupt the London Marathon.

Some have predicted ‘swampies wrestling each other by the side of the road’ on Sunday as the eco-groups battle over whether stopping the world’s greatest running event would be too damaging to their climate change cause.

Just Stop Oil have promised to disrupt sporting events after storming the World Snooker Championship on Monday. They have also refused to rule out running out along the procession route of the Coronation.

Incredibly, JSO spokesman Phoebe Plummer told TalkTV this morning that the London Marathon was ‘safe’ only for the organisation’s official Twitter account to reply: ‘I think Phoebe missed the meeting last night’. 

Militant animal rights activists Animal Rising stormed Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool after posing as racegoers, delaying the race as they were tackled by officials and officers.

But Extinction Rebellion, also known for their stunts blocking roads with their pink boat, bamboo structures or members gluing themselves to streets and buildings, have been clear that they do not want the London Marathon and its 50,000 participants being disrupted because it would be a PR disaster.

Race director Hugh Brasher has revealed his talks with Extinction Rebellion prompted an agreement that XR will be ‘uniquely asking all their participants to help guard the London Marathon’. 

There has been a marked change in approach by XR who announced in January 2023 that they would temporarily move away from disruptive acts.

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Just Stop Oil protester Edred Whittingham throws orange powder during the match between Robert Milkins against Joe Perry during day three of the Cazoo World Snooker Championship on Monday

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Protesters drove a pink boat into Parliament Square during an Extinction Rebellion protest in 2020 

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JSO activist Phoebe Plummer told TalkTV this morning that the London Marathon was ‘safe’ only for the organisation’s official Twitter account to reply: ‘I think Phoebe missed the meeting last night’.

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The London Marathon – the world’s greatest running event – is on Monday, starting in glorious Greenwich. But it faces a threat from eco-protesters

It came after the public grow increasingly angry about groups such as Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain preventing millions going about their daily lives by blocking the M25, shutting down oil refineries or attacking petrol stations.    

And now the London Marathon is now at the centre of a new row between XR and splinter groups.

Mr Brasher said: ‘I trust Extinction Rebellion, they have been very clear of what they are doing and why. I hope Just Stop Oil and the other organisations listen to what we are saying.’

The environmental group’s spokeswoman said that while its stewards will protect the runners from the protest, ‘the whole thing has slightly been taken out of context’.

‘We’ve been in close collaboration with the London Marathon since last year so that our protest can co-exist with the marathon,’ she said.

‘We met them a couple of days ago and said that we were going to protect people from the protest, and I think what the media has taken that to mean is that we’re going to protect the race from other groups protesting.

‘Really what we meant by it was that we have stewards who will be helping to keep the area safe.’

She added that all the organisations signed up to take part in the protest have assured Extinction Rebellion they will not disrupt the marathon.

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Activists wearing green robes take part in the Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ event, in a rainy London today

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A dog with Extinction Rebellion demonstrators in Westminster, London, on day one of the environmental action group’s four days of action

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Extinction Rebellion demonstrators march in Westminste

Just Stop Oil confirmed it had also been in talks with the marathon director, and activist Anna Holland told GB news: ‘I’m just going to say now: we’re not going to disrupt the marathon.

‘We do also encourage anyone who’s coming to the marathon to also join us to march for the climate because it’s so important.’

A minister has said ‘robust action’ will be taken against climate change protesters if they break the law during the London Marathon.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said it would be ‘terrible’ if environmental demonstrations held this weekend disrupted the event – though activists have vowed to avoid doing so.

Extinction Rebellion is staging a four-day protest, which it estimates will attract ‘40,000 to 50,000’ activists, outside Parliament Square on Friday.

It has been in talks with the marathon race director to ensure minimal disruption along with Just Stop Oil, which is also planning a protest.

Mr Harper told LBC: ‘First of all, we do live in a free country and it’s right that people can protest. But it’s also important that people don’t disrupt other people going about their normal lives.

‘I think it would be terrible for anybody to disrupt the marathon. Thousands of people will have trained for a whole year or more for this, many of them raising money for charity, and I think it would be terrible for people to try and use this as an excuse to make a political point.’

He added: ‘We’ll be very robust about dealing with people who break the law.’

Extinction Rebellion is staging a four-day protest, which it estimates will attract ‘40,000 to 50,000’ activists, outside Parliament Square on Friday. 

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An Animal Rebelliob protester being detained as activists disrupted the Grand National by getting into the racecourse and fixing themselves to fences and railings, causing the race to be delayed by 15 minutes

Among them will be Chris Packham, who  has sparked a fresh impartiality row for the BBC after he was accused of rallying support for Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.

The Springwatch host posted a message on social media to promote the groups’ four-day climate protest which is posing a threat to the London Marathon.

Nicknamed The Big One, it is expected to attract 30,000 supporters to central London and starts on Friday. It will include ‘people’s pickets’ outside government buildings and is backed by the two controversial environmental groups.

Packham, who describes himself as a conservationist, promoted the event on his Twitter account, before tagging in Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil.

Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11998571/War-eco-warriors-XR-vows-prevent-Just-Stop-Oil-disrupting-London-Marathon.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270

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