Extinction Rebellion climate group march at Wirksworth arts festival

The 'red rebels' were calling for urgent government action on climate and ecological crises.
The 'red rebels' were calling for urgent government action on climate and ecological crises.

Environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion staged a dramatic demonstration in Wirksworth at the weekend to call for urgent action in response to the climate crisis.

‘Red Rebels’ from Peak Extinction Rebellion—a branch of the movement made up residents from Wirksworth, Matlock Bath, Matlock and surrounding villages—marched through the town on Sunday.

Extinction Rebellion protester Stef Smith at the Wirksworth Arts Festival protest. (Photo: Adrian Ball/Matlock Camera Club)

Extinction Rebellion protester Stef Smith at the Wirksworth Arts Festival protest. (Photo: Adrian Ball/Matlock Camera Club)

Coinciding with the Wirksworth Arts Festival, the silent troupe of performers in blood-red flowing costumes mixed performance art with a hard-hitting political message.

Stef Smith said: “We’ve known about the climate and ecological crisis for such a long time, and nothing else was working. Today was about getting people involved in an action and empowered.

“Lobbying isn’t working, and Extinction Rebellion makes that little bit of difference by going ‘We’ll do a bit more, and non-violent direct action is the way’.”

Wirksworth saw the first Derbyshire council declare an official climate emergency earlier this year, but activists are intent on making themselves heard at higher levels.

She added: “That’s the only way we can make people listen, it seems. It has to come from the Government. Yes, there are companies doing awful things, but they are doing it within the law.

“It has to be about directly about making big, fast, changes with the law, because otherwise we’re going to lose this planet. Our lives are going to change. They are already changing for people in the global South, and have been for years.”

One onlooker who joined the procession said: “It is important to get the message out to the public, since so many people don’t know how bad the climate situation really is. We need to be told the truth.”

Following the 30-minute walk, schoolchildren and poets, including the renowned Mark Gwynne Jones, gave readings in the Market Place.

The next major environmental diary date planned for Derbshire Dales will be part of the global climate strike on Friday, September 20.

School students are inviting all concerned residents to join them at 11am a march from Crown Square in Matlock to County Hall.

Extinction Rebellion is planning its own international action starting on October 7. Find out more at https://bit.ly/2kzSf8c.