London: Christian climate activists arrested after climbing on DLR train roof
Members of Christian Climate Action (CCA) who climbed onto a roof of a DLR train for two hours this morning (25 April), disrupting access to London’s financial district Canary Wharf this morning were later arrested by police.
The group held a prayer vigil during their occupation of the train. This non-violent direction action was described as "a witness to their faith in Jesus Christ in the face of imminent and catastrophic climate change".
Five members of CCA took part in the peaceful protest as Extinction Rebellion focuses on the financial sector, demanding they tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency and the catastrophic role the sector is playing.
The protestors held two banners that read: ‘Business as Usual = Death’ and ‘Don’t Jail the Canaries’.
Ruth Jarman, 55-year-old mother of three, Phil Kingston, 83 year-old grandfather, Nick Cooper, 36-year-old shoe cobbler, Ian Bray, and Richard Barnard, 45, were arrested after voluntarily coming down after two hours on the train roof.
A spokesperson said: "The train was halted at Canary Wharf station to draw attention to the reality that the global financial industry is enabling climate and ecological destruction at an almost unimaginable level, through investments into projects that lead to rainforest destruction, industrial agriculture and other ecologically catastrophic projects."
The action was done in solidarity with the three Extinction Rebellion protestors who have been remanded in custody until they are due to appear in court on 16 May.
Commenting before the action, Fr Martin Newell, a Catholic priest from Birmingham who had a support role said: “When Jesus saw the moneylenders exploiting the poor in the temple he didn’t passively allow it to continue. He turned over their tables and drove them out. I told this story to a policeman the other day while I was taking part in an XR blockade. He asked what would Jesus think of my actions. He was surprised to hear the story of Jesus in the temple and he said if Jesus had done that today he’d have been charged with a public order offence.”
Nick Cooper, 35, who teaches shoemaking at Northampton University and was on the train roof said: “We've tried everything else. We’ve marched, written to our MPs and those in power have not listened. We're doing this as our last resort. The aim is to reach a point where the level of economic disruption is so unbearable to elites that the Government will be forced to act. The same approach of non-violent civil disobedience has been used successfully in other parts of the world and now we’re giving it a go here.
“When you disrupt people they do get a bit upset. But that’s when they begin to talk and some will even be led to act. Some will say this approach is counter-productive and will alienate people, but the ‘stay positive’ and ‘do your bit’ approach of the last 30 years has not worked.”
Ruth Jarman, 55, a mother of three from Hampshire who was also on the train roof said: "We are not disruptive people, we are desperate people. I’m here as a concerned Christian but also as a mother – a mother who cares about my children so much. I would do anything to protect them and make sure that they have a safe earth to grow up in. If that means getting arrested then of course I’m willing to do that."