When I moved to Bristol in January, I was hoping to get involved with lots of activism again. But life took over, and I’ve somehow managed to do very little over the past five months.
So I was absolutely determined to make it to the annual Bristol animal rights march last Saturday. And coincidentally, there was another demo on later the same day which I really wanted to go to – a protest against the planned expansion of Bristol airport, organised by Extinction Rebellion.
A protest march is no fun without signs, so we made ours well in advance. I decided to go all out and put a cartoon zombie on mine:
We were running a little late; the march set off without us, so we had to run to catch up! It was definitely worth it though. I love being in the middle of a march, watching people stare from the pavements and the windows of cars and buses.
The organisers estimated that about 320 people came, but it felt like more. It certainly looked impressive, with everyone chanting and the sea of waving signs. And of course, there were the inflatable animals too.
The rain held off most of the way – luckily, we brought some reused transparent plastic to cover our signs when it got heavier.
We stopped a few times for talks from speakers, like Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley. What I loved most was that some of the little kids were chanting even more enthusiastically than the adults – mini activists in the making!
It was great fun and put me in a really good mood. But I wasn’t done yet. We headed home for some food and a quick rest, before going over to Clifton for the next demo.
The anti-airport expansion protest
This demo was a really interesting concept. Somewhere between 350 and 400 people gathered together on the Clifton Downs – a big, open green expanse – and assembled into the shape of a giant Extinction Rebellion hourglass logo. There were big signs reading “No airport expansion” below the logo. We all held hands and a drone went up to take a picture and show how many people are opposed to the airport expansion.
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[BREAKING: @extinctionrebellion Grounds Summer Protest Plans For #Heathrow] ••• To read press release with full Action Proposal (for a possible date in the future) plus Legal Briefing, follow link in bio. ••• Meanwhile in #Bristol, 😍⏳🙌🏾 huge thanks to everyone who came to The Downs yesterday to support our call for both Bristol and North Somerset Councils to stand true to their Climate Emergency Declarations by putting a definite end to the Bristol Airport Expansion and to hold a Citizens’ Assemblies on Climate and Ecological Justice. ••• Here's the first low resolution photo we've received. More photos to follow soon. ••• We estimate about 350 – 400 human rebels joined in and 15 rebel dogs 🐶🐶🐶. ••• We think this is the biggest extinction symbol ever, but if you've made a bigger one let us know, and if you haven't… Give it a go!!! Now let's keep up the pressure on North Somerset Council to oppose the expansion. #ExtinctionRebellion #RebelForLife #StopBristolAirportExpansion @xrwsm @xrnailsea
(I have a post about the damaging environmental impact of air travel, if you’d like to check that out).
I arrived home exhausted, with achy legs from all the miles I’d walked, but really happy at the same time. It always feels good to get out there and do something to make a difference, no matter how small. And it’s inspired me to do more activism again soon — so watch this space!