Extinction Rebellion Canterbury continue anti-Westgate Car Park protests

Image Courtesy of: Alejandro Javierre

Extinction Rebellion dropped banners over Canterbury West Carpark in their first protest event of the academic year.

The group, which intends to continue protesting despite new restrictions brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, also discussed previous events held over the summer.

Tom Harvey, a member of Extinction Rebellion Canterbury since February, said: “We’re feeling quite invigorated and optimistic that we can get something done.

The multistory carpark development at Canterbury West has been a point of contention between Extinction Rebellion and Canterbury City Council since it’s proposition in 2018.

Mr Harvey said: “In July 2019, the council declared a climate emergency. To build a car park that would bring more cars into the city seemed completely against this statement that they have made.

“This is a good example of the Local Council not listening to their residents and instead going ahead with plans that are not to our benefit.”

Earlier this month, the group held a protest at the level-crossing between St Dunstans and Westgate Towers, using the blocked roads from trains passing to hold up signs in front of traffic.

The protest was about ‘idle parking’ in Canterbury – when cars are forced to wait in queues with their engines on.

One Extinction Rebellion Activist said: “It is one of the most polluted areas of Canterbury, St Dunstans.”

Nationally, Extinction Rebellion has come under fire for their ’10 days of protest’, which saw a number of arrests in London and the blockading of several newspaper printing houses at the start of September.

This has led to the possibility of new punitive restrictions on Extinction Rebellion activists and the organisation itself being considered as an organised crime group by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary.

When asked whether students coming back to Canterbury would cause an increase in attendance for Extinction Rebellion events in Canterbury, Tom Harvey said it was likely.

He said: "There's already been more traffic online from students who are coming back."

"It's going to be great for building numbers and getting stuff done."