Mass rallies and swarming roadblocks



To slow down a city that relies on speed to function can be a very effective way to draw attention to your cause. It’s something we discuss on London In Slow Motion. And we’ve seen some impressive examples recently. Take the People’s March last week and the student Climate Strike the week before – huge rallies which made front page news.

Back in November, we saw a new method of slow protest here: the Swarming Road-Blocks created the Extinction Rebellion (XR). XR is a new movement that demands urgent government action on climate change. Rather than bring vast masses of people together, these protests involved small groups popping up at junctions and occupying the roads. Organiser Ronan McNern (quoted in a Guardian article) was clear about the aim: “This is about causing economic disruption by slowing things down, bringing things to a gridlock.” The map pictured above shows the impact – all the roads shaded dark red that were brought to a standstill.

XR is planning an international rebellion on Monday 15th April, which they’re dubbing ‘Shut London Down’. Expect blockades and civil disobedience, but also something of a party atmosphere with mime acts, singing, beating and chanting. So, they say on their website: ‘Our leaders have failed us. It’s time to rebel – and have a damn good time doing it.’