Extinction Rebellion Cambridge Youth members climb on to canopy at Shell garage in latest protest
Extinction Rebellion (XR) members climbed on top of the canopy at a Shell garage in Cambridge as the climate activists’ week of protests continued.
The group blockaded the petrol station in Newnham Road, locked the pumps together and its samba band played outside.
Police confirmed five protesters were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, with four also being arrested of suspicion of aggravated trespass. They remained in custody on Friday evening.
Officers liaised with the fire service to “bring the situation to a safe resolution”.
The XR protest was designed to draw attention to the role played by the fossil fuel industry in climate breakdown.
Jason Scott-Warren, a member of XR Cambridge, said: “Shell is currently engaged in a greenwashing campaign, pretending that you can drive carbon neutral by buying into their offsetting scheme. This is a cynical scheme to perpetuate an industry which is killing the planet as well as those communities and activists that stand in the way of continued oil extraction.”
Molasses were poured over the Shell signs and pumps by activists.
The group’s youth wing is carrying out a week-long Rebel for Justice campaign until Sunday February 23, and has set up base camp and round-the-clock roadblocks at Trumpington Road and Fen Causeway, which have been formally closed by police.
During the campaign, XR Youth Cambridge has dug up soil at Trinity College, in protest at its plans for housing on farmland it owns in Suffolk, blockaded the research facility of Schlumberger off Madingley Road, and disrupted a meeting of Greater Cambridge Partnership.
Police have now made nine arrests and charged six during the week of protests.
Earlier today (Friday), members of the group returned to Trinity College to “sow the seeds of change” - sharing wildflower seeds with members of the public and repeating its call for the college to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry.
On Thursday, the group visited a show home at the Athena development at Eddington, spraying messages onto signage with chalk paint and playing samba music outside the showroom.
XR said farmland had been bulldozed to make way for what it called a “large, luxury development”.
Eddington, at the heart of the university’s North West Cambridge development, features housing for post-docs and researchers, as well as private homes priced.
It has been built to the highest recognised sustainability standards - satisfying the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and achieving BREEAM Excellent statu. It features rainwater harvesting, a district heating system and energy centre, an innovative underground bin storage system and recycling facilities.
But Tilly, one member of Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge, said: “The environmental emergency and the housing crisis are two sides of the same coin.
“Homelessness is visible all over Cambridge, families across the county are losing their homes – and instead of social housing for ordinary people, the university is working with property developers to create luxury homes which are devastating for the environment and draw more and more people into the area.”
Developer Hill, which has built the Athena development, recently announced it was going to build 200 homes for the homeless - a donation worth more than £10million.
XR Youth Cambridge issued ultimatums to Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and the University of Cambridge in January, pledging to cause major disruption if they failed to respond to three demands made by the group around climate and social justice.
More by this authorPaul Brackley