Students join Extinction Rebellion’s week long climate protest

Aoife O'Brien

Students across Ireland joined Extinction Rebellion in a week long effort to disrupt Dublin city which began on Monday October 7th.

Students rallied together with protesters from across the country in civil disobedience, shutting down roads in an effort to force the government to take radical action on climate change.

On Tuesday the rebels marched for a “just transition” and held a sit down protest outside the Dáil, closing down Kildare Street and Molesworth Street.

Placards held high above the crowd displayed the sentiment of the protesters. Phrases such as ‘stop denying our planet is dying’ and ‘planet before profit’ were used while the crowd began to sing “gardaí we love you, we’re doing this for you children too.”

DCU Masters in Climate Change, Policy and the Media student, Cormac Nugent described the “just transition” protesters were marching for as meaning no one in society gets left behind.

As we transition “certain jobs are going to be lost but others will be created and what we need to do is make sure people are brought up with society as we change and not left behind and burdened with taxes,” he said. 

Masters student in Conservation and Ecology in Queens University, Raymond Roche echoed this saying that we need to strive for system change to solve our climate disaster.

“In the capitalist system that we’re living in, where everything of production is for profit, it is not sustainable that you can live in a just society that’s going to benefit the animals, the rain-forest….if there’s a constant feed for profit you’re going to have to knock down the trees,” he said.

However, other protesters said they were there because they felt guilty for the world they were leaving behind.

One protester from Cloughjordan eco-village, Toni Ryan said, “As an older person…I feel terrible that it’s up to the young people, I feel really sad. What sort of world are they going to have?”

She said that climate change was not on the government’s agenda soon enough but that she is here to help young people “put climate change at the center of the government’s agenda so that radical action can be taken.”

While protesters said  they received a lot of support from passers by on the street many civilians took to twitter to voice their opposition to the rebellion.

One Twitter user @Lee88Jay referred to the extinction rebellion protesters as “muppets” and “self-righteous lunatics” after they stormed Penney’s on O’Connell Street to highlight the environmental impacts of fast fashion on Wednesday October 9th.

The protesters also faced backlash after one rebel grounded a flight from London City Airport to Dublin after refusing to take a seat or leave the plane on Thursday October 10th.

“Lecturing a flight from London to Dublin isn’t going to save climate change. Rich people using private jets daily are a much bigger impact than wee Maureen off on holiday to enjoy a pint. Extinction Rebellion are something else” posted Twitter user @123emmab.

At the time of writing this article, four men and a woman who had chained themselves to the railings outside Dáil Éireann had been arrested as part of the Extinction Rebellion campaign in Dublin. Hundreds more have been arrested in similar protests across the globe.

The rebellion is set to end on Sunday October 13th, however, protesters said it could last longer and this protest certainly won’t be the last.

Aoife O’Brien

Image Credit: Aoife O’Brien