The F1 British GP organisers have taken Extinction Rebellion protesters to the police after their banner hurling during formation lap.
Amid a time of social change, and a push for a cleaner way of living – one that is kinder to our fragile environment, there has been a strong movement to increase awareness of climate change as the threat the crisis poses becomes increasingly imminent.
This movement has several names, one of which is Extinction Rebellion – a global group described as one that uses ‘nonviolent civil disobedience’ in the hopes of invoking change. They frequently protest, and most recently used the F1 British GP as a platform to reach viewers around the world.
Upon the commencement of the formation lap, members of this organisation unfurled their pink banner, reading ‘Act Now’ off of a bridge on the start/finish line, as they confirmed through a post on their site that this was the doing of the official movement.
The site says they did not wish to disrupt the British GP but send a message to people. The specific group of protesters – consisting of four people – responsible were removed from the premises and promptly arrested by Silverstone officials and handed to the police.
It remains unclear how the demonstrators made it into the F1 circuit, especially with the security measures taken by local police to prevent people from entering due to strict COVID-19 protocols. Local authorities confirm that an investigation is being conducted.
“During the race, Northamptonshire Police were made aware of four people who had been detained by Silverstone security inside the venue perimeter,” said a statement from Silverstone. “Officers are working closely with Silverstone Circuit and conducting a full investigation. Four people have been arrested and are in police custody.”
F1 is currently working towards Carbon neutrality by 2030, which Extinction Rebellion acknowledges but says is not enough, and is rather slow with global warming increasing at a faster rate than the steps taken.
Thanks @F1 and @SilverstoneUK for flying the XR flag today #BritishGP! Leading the world with a commitment to go net zero #CarbonNeutral by 2025. That's one hell of an endorsement. Exactly the kind of leadership we need from #F1 and #BritishGP #ExtinctionRebellion pic.twitter.com/x1atapC4oz
— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) August 2, 2020
Some more shots here: https://xpbimages.com/f1/event/f1-2020-gbr/race?p=4
This is the full statement from Extinction Rebellion:
F”our people from Extinction Rebellion UK have entered the Silverstone arena this morning and dropped a large banner that read ‘Act Now’ behind the start line of today’s Formula 1 Grand Prix right as cars were ready to set off.
Protestors say they were not there to interrupt today’s race, but to send a clear message to millions of viewers: that the world is way off track to stop the climate and ecological emergency and the 2050 net zero target from the EU and UK government is far too late. The protest hoped to encourage viewers to face the reality of our situation – that despite the industry itself taking leadership on the issue and pledging to go carbon net zero by 2030, global governments are taking the situation nowhere near seriously enough.
Donald Bell from Extinction Rebellion Cambridge says: “Today was an opportunity to remind the world that the climate and ecological crisis hasn’t gone away and is intensifying every day. Although we applaud Formula 1 for taking the bold steps and pledging to go net zero by 2030, this strong leadership makes a mockery of the EU and UK governments’ own 2050 target. By the Grand Prix’s own standards, 2050 is far, far too late. It’s time the worlds’ governments show some leadership of their own.”
Bells Davidson from Extinction Rebellion Lambeth says: “The Covid-19 recovery is the last best chance of making the radical changes needed to mitigate the worst of the climate and ecological crisis according to the executive director of the International Energy Agency, who said the next 6 months are crucial. And what’s happening instead? The UK government specifically are bailing out carbon intensive industries and spending pennies on a green recovery, despite the majority of people in the UK supporting one.
“We can’t just sit by and do nothing as black, brown and indigenous people in the Global South suffer and our coastal towns and villages here in the UK get swept away by storms. As Lewis Hamilton bravely said recently, ‘We all have a responsibility to tackle climate change.'”
Some of the protestors wore Black Lives Matter armbands in solidarity with the protest for black lives held by Formula 1 before the race, with Extinction Rebellion organisers saying that the climate struggle and the anti-racist movement are deeply connected. It is historic and institutional racism that has enabled the destruction of people’s health, survival and ecosystems in the Global South, with the climate crisis disproportionately affecting people of colour.
Today’s banner drop comes a month before Extinction Rebellion UK returns to the streets, this time in London, Cardiff and Manchester, when they will protest day after day until MPs agree to debate their three demands. The announcement was made as civil unrest surges and the world faces an intersection of global crises. Climate breakdown, Covid-19, racial injustice, economic inequality – all are symptoms of a toxic system propped up by corrupt politicians, that is driving us to extinction. We invite everyone who is sick of the lies, injustice, inaction, to join us on 1st September.
Here’s how the F1 British GP panned out
Here’s F1 on Carbon Neutral plans